‘Finding right candidates in the region for elections is a Herculean task’

Seemandhra Congress leaders expressed anguish that party’s prospects hit a new low after State bifurcation and that it has become increasingly difficult to get the right candidate to field in the elections.

At a meeting of the Andhra Pradesh Congress election, manifesto and campaign committees at Indira Bhavan here on Saturday, chaired by AICC general secretary Digvijay Singh, the leaders lamented that if the Congress had not hastily divided the State, the situation would not have been so bad in the region. They said it has now become a Herculean task for the leaders to identify the right candidates for Assembly and Parliamentary constituencies.

Former Minister Panabaka Lakshmi has reportedly remarked that several senior leaders, MPs and MLAs have defected to other parties. In such a scenario, if strong candidates were not selected, party would lose its face before electorate, she said. Former Union Minister M.M. Pallam Raju also shared similar opinion while K. Chiranjeevi said that though it was a tough time for the party, efforts should be made to revive Congress’ fortunes.

Mr. Singh is understood to have predicted fractured mandate in Seemandhra and wanted the party leaders to work hard and see that they become influential force after the elections. The meeting decided to focus its energy on wooing the weaker sections and youth. The meeting was attended by APCC president N. Raghuveera Reddy, former PCC chief Botcha Satyanarayana, Rajya Sabha member K.V.P. Ramachandra Rao and others.

Earlier, Mr. Singh participated in a programme where Mr. Raghuveera Reddy assumed charge as the APCC president.

Addressing the gathering, he said the Congress was facing tough times and advised the leaders to not get worried by the bifurcation. Later, Telangana Congress Committee president Ponnala Lakshmaiah and working president N. Uttam Kumar Reddy assumed charge in the presence of senior leaders from Telangana.

Mr. Singh wound up his three-day visit by meeting party workers and accepting their representations. He left for Delhi in the evening.