Hyderabad: TRS supremo and Chief Minister K. Chandrasekhar Rao sprang a surprise on Sunday by announcing the candidature of Surabhi Vani Devi, daughter of former prime minister late P.V. Narasimha Rao, for the upcoming elections to the Hyderabad, Ranga Reddy and Mahbubnagar graduates MLC constituency.
The decision assumed political significance against the backdrop of the Chief Minister launching year-long the PVNR birth centenary celebrations in a grand manner on behalf of the Telangana state government on June 28, 2020. He termed late Narasimha Rao as a “son of the soil”, who became the first prime minister from south India and was hailed as the “father of India’s economic reforms” for the liberalisation of the economy during his prime ministerial tenure.
Chandrasekhar Rao launched the celebrations at the PV Gnana Bhoomi at Necklace Road in Hyderabad. Celebrations have been organised at 50 locations worldwide since then. The CM sanctioned `10 crore for the year-long celebrations, immediately triggering speculations that the TRS was trying to usurp PV’s legacy from the Congress, the party to which Narasimha Rao belonged.
At that time, speculations were rife in TRS circles that Chandrashekar Rao would nominate the former PM’s daughter Vani Devi as the MLC candidate under Governor’s quota and pay a fitting tribute to her father. However, her name was missing from the list of three nominees announced on November 13, 2020.
The TRS chief maintained suspense over whether or not the TRS would contest the upcoming Hyderabad-RR-Mahbubnagar election till Sunday evening, as the party did not announce its candidate though the Election Commission issued poll notification for two MLC seats on February 16. The deadline to file nominations ends on February 23.
While the TRS announced sitting MLC Palla Rajeshwar Reddy as its candidate for the Warangal-Khammam-Nalgonda graduate MLC constituency much earlier, there was no talk about the other seat until Sunday evening. This led to speculation that TRS may not contest this seat and may support independent candidate Prof K. Nageshwar.
However, the CM proved all speculations wrong by naming Vani Devi as the TRS candidate to take on BJP MLC N Ramachander Rao just two days prior to the deadline to submit nominations. The polling will be held on March 14.
Political analysts see the strategy in Vani Devi’s candidature as shrewd because she is well known as an artist, educationist, social activist and founder-principal of the Sri Venkateshwara Group of Institutions, which runs fine arts, pharmacy colleges and a model school in city, besides a junior college in Karimnagar district. As only graduates are eligible to vote in this election, TRS hopes to attract graduate voters with her candidature.
She will file her nomination on Monday.