Former Mayor Mallika Begum stages protest against rejection of her candidates

With the Congress party getting ready for the civic body elections, group rivalries are coming to fore with different players trying to get as many of their candidates appointed as divisional presidents.

Though the Pradesh Congress Committee (PCC) has given the MLAs the responsibilities of selecting candidates for the division president post, other leaders are using their clout in the party to jump into the race. The fact that two of the MLAs (East and West) were elected as representatives of the erstwhile Praja Rajyam Party is complicating things.

The city Congress Office, the historic Andhra Ratna Bhavan, was witness to a novel agitation as part of this struggle on Thursday.

Former Mayor Mallika Begum staged a dharna inside the Andhra Ratna Bhavan to register her protest against the rejection of her candidates for divisional committee president posts. Ms. Begum and her supporters raised slogans demanding justice.

There are 20 divisions in Vijayawada West Assembly Constituency. Ms. Begum wanted eight of her candidates to be made presidents, but the MLA Vellampalli Srinivas accommodated just one that too in Ms. Begum’s division.

Ms. Begum continued the dharna for nearly two hours until City Congress president Adapa Nagendram and working president Meesala Rajeswara Rao came and pacified her. Vijayawada MP Lagadapati Rajagopal reportedly called Ms. Begum and reprimanded her for staging the protest “without thinking of the consequences”.

The situation is a lot more complex in Vijayawada East Constituency where Yallamanchili Ravi is the MLA. While Mr. Ravi submitted a list, former Minister Devineni Rajasekhar (Nehru) too submitted a list of probables for the division president posts.

Mr. Rajasekhar was elected as the MLA of the erstwhile Kankipadu, the second largest in the State, several times. The only person to defeat him is Mr. Ravi’s father Yallamanchili Nageswara Rao.

The rivalry between the Devineni and Yallamanchili families is long and strong. Mr. Ravi, the candidate for the PRP defeated Mr. Rajasekhar with a narrow margin in the battle for Vijayawada East Constituency after the Delimitation of the Kankipadu Assembly Constituency.

Mr. Rajasekhar has been grooming his son Avinash to step into his shoes.

The appointment of the divisional presidents may well be the first step in that direction. The traditional Congress cadres are resisting the efforts of the two former PRP leaders to consolidate their position.

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