Banking heavily on the social justice plank the Congress, keen on reviving its fortunes ahead of the elections, on Tuesday named former Ministers N. Raghuveera Reddy and Ponnala Lakshmaiah -- both Backward Classes leaders -- as presidents of the Andhra Pradesh and Telangana Congress Committees. Former Minister N. Uttam Kumar Reddy has been named the working president of the Telangana PCC.

Mr. Lakshmaiah will head the Telangana unit upstaging former Ministers – C. Damodar Rajanarasimha, K. Jana Reddy and N. Uttam Kumar Reddy – who were tipped for the top post, while Mr. Raghuveera will lead the beleaguered unit in the successor State of Andhra Pradesh. The Congress leadership on Tuesday night announced creation of two separate PCCs and also named leaders for the election, campaign and manifesto committees for Telangana. It named a 23-member Pradesh Election Committee for Telangana and a 21-member team for Seemandhra.

Earlier, selection of the new team had its share of intrigue and drama. The leadership finalised the names of Mr. Rajanarasimha to head the campaign committee and Mohd. Ali Shabbir as his deputy. Mr. Uttam Kumar Reddy is the chairman of the manifesto committee, while former Minister D. Sridhar Babu and Deputy Speaker Mallu Bhatti Vikramarka will be chairman and co-chairman of the Pradesh Election Committee.

Congratulatory message

On Tuesday night, AICC president Sonia Gandhi telephoned Mr. Raghuveera and congratulated him. A beaming Mr. Raghuveera said he would strive hard to strengthen the party, which is facing large-scale defections. Earlier in Delhi, PCC chief Botcha Satyanarayana met AICC general secretary Digvijay Singh to finalise the list of leaders for the two PCCs in Telangana and Andhra Pradesh. He also called on AICC president Ms. Gandhi at 10, Janpath in this regard.

In Seemandhra, the race had narrowed between Mr. Raghuveera and former Minister Kanna Lakshminaryana, a Kapu strongman from Guntur. It is learnt that Mr. Satyanarayana,told Ms. Gandhi that he would like to concentrate on his home district of Vizianagaram. Former Union Minister K. Chiranjeevi will be the campaign committee chairman for Seemandhra. , while the manifesto committee will be headed by Anam Ramanarayana Reddy. Former Minister Dokka Manikyavaraprasada Rao is the co-chairman of pradesh campaign committee and former Union Minister Panabaka Lakshmi will be co-chairman of the manifesto committee.