Congress MLC hints at entering the fray; Digvijay summons Kiran, Botcha to Delhi

Congress is heading for more trouble as yet another leader chose to enter the Rajya Sabha elections even before the party announced its candidates.

After former Minister J. C. Diwakar Reddy, Congress MLC K. V. V. Satyanarayana Raju more popular as Chaitanya Raju (he runs Chaitanya group of institutions), reportedly declared his candidature.

AICC general secretary Digvijay Singh has said that he had asked Chief Minister N. Kiran Kumar Reddy and PCC president Botcha Satyanarayana to come to Delhi to finalise the list of candidates on Friday.

Sources said on Thursday, some MLAs led by Minister for Infrastructure Ganta Srinivasa Rao proposed the name of Mr. Raju and appended their signatures. Congress MLAs – M. Srinivasa Rao (Bhimli), V. Ramakrishna Babu (Visakhapatnam East), P. Ramesh Babu (Pendurthi), B.Muthyala Papa (Narsipatnam), P. N. Satish Kumar (Mummidivaram), Rapaka Vara Prasad (Razole), Thota Thrimurthulu (Ramachandrapuram) reportedly signed the nomination papers of Mr. Raju. A senior Congress leader said that Congress members were now veering round the theory that those backing Samaikyandhra could be backed for the Rajya Sabha elections. “We want to send across a strong message to the high command that we will not compromise on the slogan of united AP,” the leader remarked.

There was minor setback to Mr. Diwakar Reddy, when some MLAs, who had signed his nomination paper, took serious exception to his reported claim that those backing him would be rewarded with a Volvo bus. Kanigiri MLA M. Ugra Narasimha Reddy, one of the signatories served an ultimatum to Mr. Diwakar Reddy to withdraw that claim and threatened to petition Legislature Secretary and Returning officer that they would not support his candidature. This forced Mr. Reddy to issue a clarification that he had not made such offer.

In another development, perturbed PCC chief summoned Rajahmundry MLA Routhu Suryaprakash Rao, who had signed Mr. Diwakar Reddy’s nomination paper and pulled him up for anti-party activity. Mr. Rao is said to have clarified that he had supported the nomination paper only to send out a warning to the high command.