Hyderabad: Elections in the Telugu states are marked by two things: the swift change in loyalties of established party leaders, and tickets being given to the kin of political leaders.
Dynastic politics is alive and kicking in all parties as established politicians strive to get their relatives tickets to contest Assembly and Lok Sabha elections in Andhra Pradesh and Lok Sabha elections in Telangana state. “It is me or my family. Malaise has hit all parties. Party leaders and cadre who toiled are hurt, but have little choice. There will be repercussions,” remarked a senior TRS leader.
Says a Telugu Desam leader, “If I am not wrong, relatives of over 70-80 political leaders are in the fray in Andhra Pradesh. The Telugu Desam, YSRC, Jana Sena and BJP in Andhra Pradesh have also seen the largest number of turncoats.”
Those who have abandoned their parties expecting rewards have not been disappointed. TD leader Nama Nageswara Rao joined the TRS overnight and bagged the Khammam Lok Sabha ticket replacing sitting TRS MP Ponguleti Sudhakar Reddy. A novice, Talasani Kiran Yadav, son of animal husbandry and cinematography minister Srinivas Yadav, who is also the Sanathnagar MLA, got the Secunder-abad Lok Sabha ticket leaving TRS leaders stumped.
Mayor Bonthu Ramamo-han’s wife Sridevi and several other party leaders tried to get tickets for themselves or their relatives but failed.
In Telangana, K. Kavita, daughter of Chief Minister K. Chandrasekhar Rao, has been re-nominated for the Nizamabad Lok Sabha seat. Ms Maloth Kavitha, daughter of Dornakal TRS MLA D.S. Redya Naik, got the Mahbubabad ticket in place of sitting MP Prof. Ajmeera Seetharam Naik.
The TRS Malkajgiri Lok Sabha ticket went to Marri Rajasekhar Reddy, son-in-law of labour minister and Medchal MLA Ch Malla Reddy.
Mr Malla Reddy won the Malkajgiri parliamentary seat on a Telugu Desam ticket in 2014 and later defected to the TRS.
The BJP gave its Nizambad Lok Sabha ticket to Dharmapuri Arvind, son of TRS Rajya Sabha MP, D Srinivas, and the Nagarkurnool LS ticket to Bangaru Sruthi, daughter of former BJP national president Bangaru Laxman.
MIM leaders Asaduddin Owaisi and Akbaruddin Owaisi filed nominations for Hyderabad Lok Sabha seat — Akbaruddin as standby for Asaduddin.
The first family is strong in both states. In Telangana state, Chief Minister and TRS president K. Chandrasekhar Rao is Gajwel MLA, his son and TRS working president K.T. Rama Rao represents Sircilla in the Assembly, Mr Rao's nephew T. Harish Rao represents Siddipet in the Assembly and daughter K. Kavitha has been re-nominated for the Nizamabad Lok Sabha seat.
In Andhra Pradesh, Chief Minister and TD supremo N. Chandrababu Naidu is contesting from Kuppam Assembly constituency, his son Lokesh from Mangalagiri Assembly constituency, his brother-in-law and actor Balakrishna from Hindupur and his other son in-law, M. Bharat, is contesting the Vizag Lok Sabha seat.
YSRC president Y.S. Jaganmohan Reddy is contesting from Pulivend-ula and his cousin Avinash Reddy from Kadapa for the Lok Sabha polls.
Jana Sena chief Pavan Kalyan, promising clean politics, is contesting from two Assembly constituencies, Bhimavaram in West Godavari and Gajuwaka in Vizag, while his elder brother and actor Nagababu is standing for the Lok Sabha from Narsapuram.