The decision of YSRC to field a ‘stranger’ from Chittoor LS seat stumps cadres
YSR Congress president Y.S. Jaganmohan Reddy has done the unthinkable by fielding a stranger from Telangana region for the Chittoor Lok Sabha seat, much to the shock and awe of YSRC partymen.
Samanya Kiran, wife of a West Bengal cadre IAS officer Kiran, has been named the YSRC candidate. Ms. Kiran (36), who joined the party in December 2013, is party’s coordinator of Madhira Assembly constituency in Khammam district. She was pitching for the Madhira seat but shunted to Chittoor by the YSRC supremo. Her choice came as a jolt to the party activists as the names of former LIDCAP Chairman M. Reddeppa, a close aide of Peddireddy Ramachandra Reddy, and K. Asha Jyothi, an academician, were doing the rounds. “We were at our wit’s end when her name was announced,” a party activist bemoaned.
“She is an import from Telangana. In fact, we were all confused over the gender of the candidate,” a party leader not wanting to be named said. Except the fact she was born in Madanapalle and studied in Chittoor, Ms. Kiran has no connection with the constituency, he pointed out. Local leaders said the selection is fraught with danger in view of the fact that Chittoor (SC) constituency is Mala community-dominant. Ms. Kiran, however, is a Madiga.
She has done her Ph.D in Telugu and worked as a lecturer in Hyderabad and other places. “She wrote books on Telangana. How could the leadership field her from a seat in Rayalaseema. It is beyond our imagination,” another leader rued. Apart from sizeable population of SCs, the constituency has a good presence of Tamilians from Chittoor to Kuppam in the south and up Nagari in the east. The constituency also has a substantial presence of the BC communities, forming about 50 per cent of the voters.
The TDP retained its sitting MP Dr. N. Siva Prasad to take on Ms. Kiran. A Mala leader, Dr. Prasad has a good following in the community. He also has an edge over his opponents in Kuppam and Palamaner, known TDP strongholds. “He will also play the card of being in the Opposition and take solace in the fact that much of the works could not be executed and hence, deserves a second chance,” a senior analyst said.
The TDP party registered thumping victories here, losing twice to the Congress in 1989 and in mid-term polls in 1991. From 1996 till 2009 elections, the TDP had won five consecutive terms. The Congress also caught its cadre off guard by fielding sitting Puthalapattu (SC) MLA Dr. P. Ravi as its candidate. Dr. Ravi was keen to retain Puthalapattu seat and even tried to switch over to the TDP. He stayed back only after TDP chief N. Chandrababu Naidu did not give him assurance on Puthalapattu ticket. The Congress suddenly announced his candidature for Chittoor LS, much to the consternation of supporters of Dr. Ravi. The fight is mainly going to be between Dr. Prasad and Ms. Kiran.
Meanwhile, Chittoor constituency continues to be hit by perennial drought which will be a key poll issue. Drinking water crisis, unresolved agrarian problems, unemployment and large-scale migration of labourers to neighbouring States of Tamil Nadu and Karnataka are other issues which could dominate the pollscape here.