Mallika's selection the trigger
Strong fight likely for the remaining two posts Chances bright for Meesala Rajeswara Rao
VIJAYAWADA: Groups in the Congress are reviewing their strategies and arguments to corner the post of Deputy Mayor and party floor leader in the Vijayawada Municipal Corporation (VMC) with the party high command selecting a Muslim minority candidate for the post of Mayor.
The selection of Mallika Begum, who owes allegiance to the group led by Member of the Lok Sabha from Vijayawada Lagadapati Rajagopal, for the coveted post irked members of the other two groups.
But the `bloodless coup' has, however, strengthened the resolve of these groups to put up a strong fight for the remaining two posts.
Loyalist of Assembly member from the Kankipadu constituency, Devineni Rajasekhar (Nehru), Cherukuri Krishna Kumar, is not in a hurry to resign from the post of Deputy Mayor.
He is known to have sent out a feeler that he would resign only if a corporator from his group was nominated by the party leadership as his successor.
Serious contender from the group Venkata Satyanarayana is being groomed to step into Mr. Krishna Kumar's shoes to ensure that the group has enough say over matters of the Vijayawada Municipal Corporation in future.
Followers of Vijayawada East MLA Vangaveeti Radhakrishna and the MP are contesting the claims of the Nehru group on the grounds that members of the group have been holding the post continuously for the last six years.
In the previous general body, Mr. Rajasekhar took the support of then Vijayawada West MLA Jaleel Khan to have his followers elected as Deputy Mayor.
In a quid pro quo understanding, Mr. Khan's follower was made chairperson of the standing committee.
On one occasion, Mr. Rajasekhar's man was elected as Deputy Mayor, notwithstanding a whip from the president of the Andhra Pradesh Congress Committee, K. Keshava Rao. Venkata Satyanarayana defeated P. Upendra's follower Valluri Srinivas when corporators loyal to Mr. Khan and Mr. Rajasekhar voted for him, disregarding a party diktat.
It is also the long-cherished and unfulfilled dream of the Scheduled Castes in Congress party to see one of their kinsmen as a Deputy Mayor.
The City Congress Scheduled Castes Cell is lobbying with the high command to select Meesala Rajeswara Rao as the candidate for the post of Deputy Mayor.
The chances of senior corporator Samanthapudi Narasaraju, who is agreeable to all groups, emerging as a dark horse and get nominated for the post cannot be ruled out.