With three Congress MPs from Telangana almost severing ties with their party as a prelude to joining the TRS very soon, the Congress leadership has started scouting for alternative candidates for these seats for next year’s Parliament elections.
The party is indeed hard-pressed to find replacements for Manda Jagannath (Nagarkurnool), G. Vivekanand (Peddapalli) and S. Rajaiah (Warangal) after their crossover to the TRS in June first week. All the three seats, incidentally, are reserved for the SCs.
Leaders admit that it is not an easy task to find replacement given the sensitive divide between the Mala and Madiga sub-castes among the SCs. Interestingly, Madigas outnumber the Malas in the region.
They say defection of Dr. Vivekanand would be a setback to the Congress, as he has nurtured his constituency well. The party lacks a strong dalit leader to take on the sitting MP. The choice may fall either on former Karimnagar ZP Chairman Lakshman Kumar or Government Whip Arepalli Mohan. Mr. Mohan belongs to Karimnagar Parliamentary constituency and has developed a good rapport with the people.
In Warangal, the choice could be between former Minister B. Arogyam and Pulla couple --former MLC Pulla Padmavati or her husband and Congress leader Pulla Bhaskar.
The couple were with the YSR Congress for some time before returning to the Congress fold.
There is a speculation that Mr. Rajaiah, despite joining the TRS may not get the Warangal ticket as the TRS chief might choose Kadiyam Srihari for the Warangal Parliamentary constituency. Mr. Rajaiah may have to settle for Manakondur Assembly ticket as it is his native place.
In Nagarkurnool too, the task of choosing a suitable candidate is a difficult task. As of now, former MP Mallu Ravi is being considered as the Congress party’s candidate in place of Dr. Jagannath, who is expected to be the TRS nominee from the same seat.