Aadala Prabhakar Reddy had decided to fight on the plank of Samaikyandhra

In a sudden turn of events, the election to the six Rajya Sabha seats from the State became a mere formality on Thursday after the Congress rebel, Adala Prabhakara Reddy, announced his retirement from the contest.

Mr. Prabhakara Reddy remained firm on contesting till Wednesday claiming he had the required numbers in his favour. He, however, changed tack on Thursday by announcing his withdrawal from the contest thus clearing decks for the smooth election of other six candidates.

Coming after his meeting with Chief Minister N. Kiran Kumar Reddy, the announcement raised many an eye brow. Mr. Prabhakara Reddy said he was optimistic about the YSR Congress’ support as its leaders were in constant touch with him from the past few days, but the party backtracked from its earlier assurance of supporting him.

The Congress leaders, however, saw some political undertones behind the sudden development. They recalled that the YSR Congress had been steadfast in its decision that it will neither field its candidate nor will its MLAs cast their votes in favour of one candidate or the other.

“How did Mr. Prabhakara Reddy bank on the support of the YSR Congress when it made its position abundantly clear?” a senior leader wondered. Mr. Prabhakara Reddy’s decision assumes significance as he was pitted against K.V.P. Ramachandra Rao and T. Subbarami Reddy, the two MPs who are opposed to bifurcation of the State.

Mr. Prabhakara Reddy said the Chief Minister wanted his cooperation in the victory of the official candidates and he had decided to retire as he had support of around 20 MLAs. He was accompanied by former Minister J.C. Diwakar Reddy and Sridhar Krishna Reddy, both Congress MLAs, during his meeting with Mr. Kiran Reddy.

They accused YSR Congress president Jaganmohan Reddy of favouring bifurcation in contrast to the claims outside on extending support to keep the State united.