Special Correspondent

Self-immolation bid by followers of those denied party ticket

VIJAYAWADA: It was a day of protests and self-chastisement for the followers of candidates, who were not given ticket by the Congress. While followers of former MLA Jaleel Khan, an aspirant for the party ticket in Vijayawada West constituency, doused themselves with petrol threatening self-immolation, followers of Gollapudi Sarpanch Bommasani Subba Rao, aspirant in Mylavaram constituency, tonsured their heads in the full glare of the media to register their protest.

MPP presidents, MPTC members and ZPTC members, who are close to the late Chanumolu Venkata Rao, held a meeting at his house in Velagaleru village in Mylavaram constituency and expressed disappointment over the party not giving ticket to his son Chanumolu Anil Kumar after making him quit a well-paying job.

In a surprise to all, about 20 Backward Class youth, who were followers of Congress corporator Kunuku Rajasekhar, entered the election office of MP Lagadapati Rajagopal near Benz Circle and raised slogans demanding tickets to BCs. Four of these youth had their heads tonsured to register their protest. Mr. Rajasekhar has been close to Mr. Rajagopal’s family even before he entered active politics as a follower of former Union Minister and MP’s father-in-law Parvathaneni Upendra.

‘Winning horses’

Mr. Rajagopal, who came to the city on Wednesday, told the media at Gannavaram airport and the election office that only ‘winning horses’ had been selected by AICC president Sonia Gandhi. Asked why no BC candidate was given party ticket in any of the seven Assembly segments falling under Vijayawada Parliamentary constituency, Mr. Rajagopal said the district and the State were taken as units for distributing seats among different social groups. Accordingly, three BCs were given tickets in Krishna district. Mudraboiyana Venkateswara Rao was given ticket to Gannavaram, K.P Saradhi to Penamaluru and Jogi Ramesh to Pedana.

The same could not be done at the level of Parliamentary constituency, he said. Asked why ticket was denied to L. Tantiya Kumari, daughter of Minister Koneru Ranga Rao and an aspirant for Tiruvuru constituency, the MP merely said: “What can I do? You know how close I am to Mr. Ranga Rao.”