While the Congress and TDP are riddled with internal bickering in Palair Assembly constituency, the CPI (M) has gained head start over the ruling and main opposition parties by racing ahead in the electioneering.
The CPI(M) has scored over other parties by announcing its candidate Pothineni Sudarshan, the party’s district secretary, for the Palair seat much before others.
The Palair constituency, which was a SC reserved constituency until five years ago, has become general following the delimitation in 2009. The present incumbent and former minister Ramreddy Venkat Reddy is seeking re-nomination from the seat, known as a traditional bastion of the Congress.
His name was cleared by the party high command after much dilly-dallying owing to the stiff opposition put up by his rival group which owes allegiance to Rajya Sabha member Renuka Chowdary.
The “anti-Venkat Reddy” group reportedly lobbied for K. Upender Reddy, a noted contractor and a close associate of some political heavy weights in the Congress, till the last minute.
The bitter infighting between two groups owing allegiance to Khammam MP Nama Nageswara Rao and the other to Khammam MLA Tummala Nageswara Rao in the district TDP has cast a shadow on the ambitious plans of the party to wrest the seat from where the party has never won.
The TDP has re-nominated Mr. Tummala from Khammam Assembly seat ending intense speculations that he might be shifted to Palair seat. After protracted deliberations, the party high command finalised the name of M. Swarna Kumari, the party constituency in-charge and staunch follower of Mr. Nama, for Palair seat.
The decision follows Mr. Nama’s recent comments strongly asserting Ms. Swarna Kumari’s candidature for Palair seat.
Mr. Nama’s insistence on allotment of the party ticket to Ms. Swarna evoked flak from the loyalists of Mr. Tummala a few days ago.
Some of the staunch followers of Mr. Tummala even hinted that their leader will enter into the fray from Khammam Lok Sabha seat to trounce his “political opponents.”
However, Mr. Tummala reiterated that he would abide by the party high command’s decision. The group rivalry further turned bitter with several key party leaders of the four mandals in Palair constituency of the group loyal to Mr. Nama threatening to resign en-masse if Mr. Tummala was fielded from Palair seat.
Women outnumber men among voters in the constituency which has a total electorate of little over 1.94 lakh. The constituency has four mandals - Kusumanchi, Nelakondapalli, Tirumalayapalem and Khammam rural.
The constituency has returned Congress candidates for nine times of the total 12 elections held since 1962. Former minister Sambani Chandrasekhar won from the constituency for four times in 1981, 1989, 1999 and 2004 elections.
While the CPI (M) bagged the constituency twice in 1985 and 1994, the CPI emerged triumphant once in 1983.
The Congress party continued its winning spree in the constituency in 2009 elections. Its candidate and senior Congress leader Mr. Venkat Reddy emerged victorious, defeating CPI (M) candidate Tammineni Veerabhadram with a margin of 5,666 votes in the previous general elections. While Mr. Reddy polled 64,555 votes, Mr. Veerabhadram secured 58,889 votes.
The CPI (M) is hoping to capitalise on the mass movements, including padayatras it organised on the pending irrigation projects such as SRSP second stage in the past.