On a day of high drama on Friday, Congress leaders managed to make a rebel candidate withdraw his candidature for the Rajya Sabha elections but they failed to persuade another equally powerful to opt out of the fray.
Their efforts to ensure unanimous elections on the final day of withdrawal of nominations to Rajya Sabha ended in embarrassment and upset their calculations as Mr. Adala Prabhakar Reddy, an MLA, did not yield to pressure.
On the other hand, K. V. V. Satyanarayana Raju alias Chaitanya Raju, an MLC, withdrew his papers after a lot of persuasion and counselling by Chief Minister N. Kiran Kumar Reddy and Ministers.
Accordingly, Ministers Ganta Srinivasa Rao, Erasu Pratap Reddy and S. Sailajanath reached the Assembly to withdraw the nomination papers of Mr. Raju.
In a pre-planned move, they sent Congress MLA Ch. Venkataramaiah to the Returning Officer, S. Raja Sadaram, stating that he was authorised by Mr. Prabhakar Reddy to withdraw his nomination and that the candidate was on his way to the Assembly. But, the Returning Officer refused to accept the withdrawal form.
As the drama was unfolding on television news channels, Mr. Reddy telephoned the Returning Officer and said he had not authorised anyone to take back his papers. “It is a mischief being played by some Congress leaders,” he said. Mr. Reddy rushed to the Assembly and clarified to the official that he would contest the elections.
“A conspiracy has been hatched against me for the last four days. Someone has planned to submit false withdrawal forms through Mr. Venkataramaiah, who had supported my candidature. The Chief Minister personally telephoned me four times urging me to withdraw. I will file a criminal case against those responsible for this mischief,” he told reporters.
In the wake of these developments, elections have become inevitable to fill the six vacancies during voting on February 7. The six other candidates in the election fray are K. V. P. Ramachandra Rao, M. A. Khan and T. Subbarami Reddy (all Congress) Garikapati Ramamohan Rao and Thota Seetharamalaxmi (Telugu Desam) and K. Keshava Rao (TRS).