The Congress on Thursday named three new faces among the list of 11 candidates for the Lok Sabha constituencies in Seemandhra region.
Congress screening committee members Digivijay Singh and Vayalar Ravi, who held discussions with APCC chief N. Raghuveera Reddy, Union Minister K. Chiranjeevi and former PCC chief Botcha Satyanarayana in Delhi, cleared the 11 names as part of the first list of candidates for parliamentary constituencies.
Social worker Thota Vijayalakshmi is all set to make her electoral debut from Anakapalle constituency, while Devineni Avinash, son of former Minister Devineni Nehru, has been cleared for the prestigious Vijayawada Lok Sabha seat.
The other new face is MLC Vakati Narayana Reddy from the Nellore parliamentary constituency.
Five Union Ministers – K.C. Deo (Araku), Killi Krupa Rani (Srikakulam), M.M. Pallam Raju (Kakinada), Panabaka Lakshmi (Bapatla) and Kotla Jayasuryaprakash Reddy (Kurnool) -- have been re-nominated. Sitting Lok Sabha members – Botcha Jhansi (Vizianagaram), Kanumuri Bapiraju (Narsapur) and Dr. Chinta Mohan (Tirupati) were also given the go-ahead to contest the general elections.
Sources close to the APCC chief said that the next meeting of the screening committee would be held on April 7 where the list of candidates for the remaining parliamentary and Assembly constituencies would be scrutinised.
The party is forced to scout for seniors and candidates with winning prospects after as many as nine sitting Lok Sabha members – Daggubati Purandeswari (Visakhapatnam), Vundavalli Arun Kumar (Rajahmundry), G.V. Harsha Kumar (Amalapuram), Kavuri Sambasiva Rao (Eluru), Lagadapati Rajagopal (Vijayawada), Rayapati Sambasiva Rao (Guntur), A. Saipratap (Rajampet), Ananta Venkatarami Reddy (Anantapur) and S.P.Y. Reddy (Nandyal) quit the party in the recent times after the bifurcation of the State. Some of them joined the TDP, BJP, YSR Congress and Jai Samaikyandhra Party.
The party is finding it difficult to identify suitable candidates for Rajahmundry, Amalapuram, Eluru, Rajampet, Nandyal, Kadapa, Machilipatnam and Anantapur. Sources said former Minister Kanna Lakshminaryana may be asked to take the plunge from Guntur, while Rajya Sabha member T. Subbarami Reddy or his family members may get the nod for the Visakhapatnam seat. Former Minister Vatti Vasant Kumar, who was offered Eluru LS seat declined to contest. The party is said to be urging former Minister Kasu Venkatakrishna Reddy to contest from the Narasaraopet constituency but he is reportedly demanding that his son be given the Assembly ticket too.
Interestingly, the Seemandhra LS list appears to have been cleared easily compared to the exercise being done with regard to selection of candidates for Assembly and LS in Telangana. While the TPCC had met the screening committee and members of the central election committee, the first list is yet to be cleared.