Screening panel sits for close to 20 hours to examine the list presented by TPCC chief Ponnala Lakshmaiah

The Congress party’s central screening committee has cleared single names for as many as 60 out of the 119 Assembly constituencies in Telangana.

An official announcement on the first list of candidates for the Assembly is likely to be made once the AICC central election committee, which will meet on March 26, puts its stamp of approval. The AICC general secretary Digvijay Singh said that the list could be declared on April 3 or 4.

During the last two-days, the screening committee sat for close to 20 hours to examine the list presented by the Tëlangana Pradesh Congress Committee chief Ponnala Lakshmaiah and the working president N.Uttam Kumar Reddy. It held wide ranging consultations with the MPs and other senior leaders to take their views on the selection of candidates.

Leaders’ privy to the developments told The Hindu on Sunday that almost all the sitting MLAs are sure to be re-nominated. All the former Ministers in the Kiran Kumar Reddy Government got the nod. Interestingly, the party’s central leadership is said to have cleared names of at least 20 other senior leaders, former Ministers and legislators, who lost the previous elections.

They include former Speaker K.R.Suresh Reddy (Armoor), former Ministers – T.Jeevan Reddy (Jagtial), G. Chinna Reddy (Wanaparthy), S.Redya Naik (Dornakal), Vanama Venkateswara Rao (Kothagudem) and other seniors like Sambhani Chandrasekhar and Mallu Ravi.

The screening was not without its hiccups with Nalgonda district creating head ache for the central leaders. With senior Reddy leaders like Jana Reddy, Uttam Kumar Reddy, Gutha Sukhender Reddy, R.Damodar Reddy and Komatireddy brothers pitching for their family members and supporters, the task of selection got delayed. Senior leaders felt that with several Reddy leaders seeking tickets for their kith and kin, it would send wrong signal to the weaker sections. It was trying to balance the representation by identifying the BC leaders too.

Sources said TPCC chief Ponnala Lakshmaiah staked the claim for Bhongir Parliamentary constituency as well as Jangaon and Warangal West Assembly seat. His daughter-in-law Vaishali is eyeing Jangaon seat as well. Former PCC chief D.Srinivas urged the high command to shift him to Nizamabad rural while giving the urban seat to his son. AP Mahila Congress chief Akula Lalitha is strong contender for the Nizamabad urban seat.

There was heavy demand for constituencies in the twin cities, with Musheerabad witnessing unprecedented rush. A long list of aspirants sought tickets for Amberpet, Qutubullapaur, Uppal, Ibrahimpatnam, Rajendranagar and Malakpet constituencies.

A senior TPCC functionary said there was growing feeling among the top leadership that they should enter into an alliance with the MIM. As regards alliance, the Rashtriya Lok Dal is also seeking two seats for MLC Dilip Kumar (Amberpet) and Vimalakka (Aler). If the party enters into electoral tie-up with CPI, it may be forced to give Nalgonda Lok Sabh and 12 Assembly seats in Nalgonda, Karimnagar and Khammam districts.