Even before the official list of candidates for the by-elections to 18 Assembly and the Nellore Lok Sabha seat is officially announced, resentment is brewing over the selection of candidates in Parkal, Rajampet, Rayachoti and Anantapur constituencies.
Supporters of Government Chief Whip Gandra Venkataramana Reddy carried their protest to the Chief Minister's camp office here opposing the move to field Samma Rao from Parkal because he was a Telugu Desam leader.
They wanted the party to nominate Mrs. Gandra Jyothi, wife of the Chief Whip, as the candidate. Mr. Venkataramana Reddy, who is also the Warangal district unit president, expressed surprise over reports that Mr. Samma Rao's name was under consideration.
To visit Delhi?
“The party cadres feel humiliated at the move to nominate a person who has indulged in anti-party activities. If necessary, a delegation of Parkal leaders will go to Delhi to apprise the Congress leaders of the ground reality,” he said.
The selection of Meda Mallikarjun Reddy (Rajampet) and G. Ramprasad Reddy (Rayachoti) has split the party in Kadapa. Health Minister D. L. Ravindra Reddy said Chief Minister N. Kiran Kumar Reddy will have to take the responsibility for the election result and added that the district Ministers were not consulted in the selection of candidates.
His colleague, Md. Ahmedullah, however, said: “The Chief Minister and PCC chief convened constituency-wise meetings and elicited the opinion of the cadres. Only after receiving their suggestions, the two names were finalised.”
Kamalapuram MLA G. Veerasiva Reddy said when Dr. Ravindra Reddy was not evincing interest in the by-elections it was futile for him to talk about the debacle and responsibility. “Let him suggest names of winning candidates and lead the campaign,” he said.
Differences also arose over the Anantapur constituency after the party almost cleared Rashid Khan's name. “The plight of the Congress party is evident from the selection as no senior leader is willing to enter the fray. It will be a tough task for us to campaign,” a senior Congress MLA from the district said.