None of the names proposed by the Chief Minister could get the ticket

Chief Minister N. Kiran Kumar Reddy is said to be none too happy with the Congress candidates for the Rajya Sabha announced by his party high command.

For one, none of the names he proposed could get the ticket while he is understood to have suggested that the services of K. Chiranjeevi could be better utilised in the State, instead of the Centre, by giving him a key position in the government. But, this also did not find favour with the Congress top brass since it had already made a commitment to Mr. Chiranjeevi to give him ‘due recognition' for merging his Praja Rajyam with their party in February last.

Hectic parleys

Sources said once the names of Mr Chiranjeevi and Renuka Chowdary were cleared, the task left was to identify candidates for the remaining two Rajya Sabha seats. There were hectic discussions between the AICC leaders and Mr Kiran Kumar Reddy as well as the PCC chief Botcha Satyanarayana.

Mr. Reddy's list included former Speaker K. R. Suresh Reddy, APCC general secretary Abid Rasool Khan, Srinivas Jagannath, son of former Deputy Chief Minister C. Jagannath, R. Raghuram Reddy, son of former MP R. Surender Reddy, Venugopal Rao, former East Godavari ZP chief, T. Venkatram Reddy and Kasani Gnaneswar.

However, after they decided not to give another term to Mr. K. Keshava Rao, the AICC leaders were keen on selecting a Backward Class leader, preferably from the weaver community, besides a minority. The PCC chief is said to have proposed the names of PCC general secretary Rapolu Anand Bhaskar and the party's weavers' cell chief T. Nagaiah besides Md. Ali Shabbir and Md. Fareeduddin.

Grassroots worker

The high command's choice fell on Mr. Anand Bhaskar, as he had risen from the ranks, belonged to Telangana and to the Backward Classes. It zeroed in on Mr. Palvai Goverdhan Reddy, who had been lobbying hard for the ticket with his contacts in the AICC, for his seniority, loyalty and his caste.

Congress leaders were pleased with the selection of Mr. Anand Bhaskar. “It shows the Congress party's commitment to recognise a disciplined party worker,” Ministers Ponnala Lakshmaiah and Basavaraj Saraiah said.

All the four candidates thanked the AICC chief, Sonia Gandhi, for considering them for the Rajya Sabha. Mr. Chiranjeevi said the party was passing through a difficult phase and it was everyone's duty to infuse a sense of confidence in the cadre and revive the party. Ms. Renuka Chowdary said they would not disappoint the party for reposing confidence in them.