S. Jaipal Reddy refuses the offer for party ticket from Nalgonda

HYDERABAD: Search for safe winning seats by several Congress MPs is said to be delaying the process of selection of candidates for the general elections.

The central screening committee that met for the second successive day on Tuesday was bogged down by repeated pleas from Lok Sabha members to be shifted to safe constituencies.

The committee members headed by External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee were closeted with Chief Minister Y. S. Rajasekhara Reddy and APCC president D. Srinivas to shortlist the nominees for Lok Sabha.

According to party sources, a couple of MPs insisted on being accommodated in new Lok Sabha constituencies, consequent to delimitation. Notable among them was Union Minister S. Jaipal Reddy who refused the offer for the party ticket from Nalgonda.

He has strongly pitched for Chevella but indicated that he did not mind contesting from Malkajgiri or even Zaheerabad Lok Sabha seat. Kodad MLA. N. Uttam Kumar Reddy and State Minister R. Damodar Reddy’s names are under consideration for Nalgonda seat.

Former Chief Minister N. Janardhan Reddy is keen on shifting to Nellore seat, but efforts are on by a section of the Congress leadership to persuade him to become a Rajya Sabha member.

Another Union Minister Daggubati Purandeswari is said to have evinced interest in being shifted to Narsapur or Visakhapatnam.

Nizamabad seat is also giving a tough time for the panel, where the incumbent Madhu Yaskhi Goud wants retention. However, Chief Minister’s group is said to be moving heaven and earth to field Assembly Speaker K. R. Suresh Reddy even as there was no clarity whether the APCC president was also in the race.

There is also resistance against the move to drop Amalapuram MP G.V. Harsha Kumar, who has consistently taken an anti-YSR stand. State Minister Md. Fareeduddin strongly staked the claim for the Zaheerabad seat while former CLP leader M. Baga Reddy’s son and Narayankhed MLA Suresh Shetkar were also eyeing the same seat.

Rajya Sabha member V. Hanumantha Rao was said to be strongly lobbying for the Malkajgiri seat where another Congress man Y. Prabhakar Reddy is in the race. Another MP Sarvey Satyanarayana was pressuring the central leadership to consider him for the same seat. Party may consider him from Warangal SC seat where another former MLA B. Arogyam was a strong contender.

Eluru MP K. S. Rao’s bid to shift to Machilipatnam created confusion in the screening panel, as any move to displace the sitting member Badiga Ramakrishna, who is a Kapu, was bound to send wrong signals.

Final round

Meantime, Dr. Reddy and the APCC chief are expected to return to Hyderabad on Wednesday and go back for final round of selection on March 13.