The former Chief Minister fields younger brother Kishore Kumar Reddy as the Samaikyandhra Party candidate

The Jai Samaikyandra Party (JSP) president and former Chief Minister Nallari Kiran Kumar Reddy on Saturday sprang a double surprise by backing out from contesting the Piler Assembly seat and altogether from the general elections.

Mr. Kiran Reddy arrived at the MRO office at Piler, accompanied by his brother Kishore Kumar Reddy at forenoon, implying that he would file nomination. After the Nallari brothers came out filing nomination, there was suspense for a couple of minutes. Soon it was revealed that it’s not Kiran Reddy who filed the nomination, but his brother Kishore Reddy. He kept waving to the crowds, saying that he chose to sacrifice his political life to realise the dream of Samaikyandra. Some of his hardcore supporters went emotional and wanted Kiran to file his nomination, but the latter kept consoling them. Even the election officials thought Mr. Kiran would file his nomination. When Kiran was proposing his brother, the officials were stunned and repeatedly sought clarification from him.

The JSP chief had assured his supporters during his April 10 visit to Madanapalle that he would file his nomination for Piler on April 16. Later, the cadres said the schedule was dragged to April 19, the last day of nominations, but the suspense unfolded with his brother substituting Kiran.

Kishore, widely known for his behind-the-scene politics as a Congress leader till recently, looked overwhelmed among the crowds for the role he took on to steer the JSP directly.

Wide contacts

JSP treasurer Bhamidipati Ramamurthy told The Hindu in Hyderabad that Mr. Reddy was not hankering for power and wanted to be with the people. “He had taken a decision not to contest the polls long back. Mr. Kishore is the right choice for the seat as he has wide contacts in the constituency and was the man behind Mr. Kiran’s poll planning in previous elections,” he said.

The YSR Congress cadres went upbeat in Piler constituency. In spite of this, the YSRC cadres admit that Mr. Kiran is still a formidable force in his home turf, having kept it on the state map, by grounding developmental works worth over Rs. 2,000 crore and initiating the Rs. 7,000 crore drinking water project.

It was only after Mr. Kiran stepped down as Chief Minister that his avowed enemy and former Minister Peddireddi Ramachandra Reddy began his witch hunt in Piler, luring Kiran’s supporters to the fold of the YSRC, but with little success. Coming to the TDP, it remains the weakest in Piler constituency after Punganur, the bastion of Peddireddi family.

The JSP cadres claim that Kiran's decision to stay away from contest would generate a surge of sympathy for the JSP among the crowds, all over the state.