Special Correspondent

Fear being branded ‘traitors' by TRS during election campaign

HYDERABAD: Fearing that the momentum for seeking Telangana State would be lost if the Congress won even a single seat in the by-elections to 12 Assembly constituencies in the region, certain influential leaders of the ruling party are systematically trying to dissuade aspirants from contesting.

These leaders feel that the keen interest being shown by some strong candidates to contest the bypolls may jeopardise the chances of re-election of the 12 MLAs of the TRS, TDP and the BJP, who ‘sacrificed' their seats for the cause of statehood.

Congress Working Committee member K. Keshava Rao and MP from Nizamabad Madhu Yaskhi are openly opposing the fielding of candidates. In stark contrast, APCC president D. Srinivas feels that as a national party, the Congress has to field its candidates. He may himself seek ticket from Nizamabad Urban constituency.

Sources said two senior leaders were trying to impress upon the aspirants to drop the idea of contesting elections or otherwise prepare to being branded by the TRS as ‘traitors' during the election campaign. Aspirants like A. Indrakaran Reddy, Koneru Konappa, G.Vinod and Diwakar Rao (all Adilabad), Dayasagar (Warangal), B. Janardhan Goud (Nizamabad) and J. Ratnakar Rao (Karimnagar) are among those who received ‘heavy doses' of advice. Mr. Indrakaran Reddy was asked not to seek the Sirpur Assembly ticket and leave it to Koneru Konappa, who lost last year. This would help the TRS nominee as Mr. Konappa is a non-local who hails from the Andhra region.

In the case of former Minister G. Vinod, these leaders have failed to dissuade him from contesting the election from Chennur and have approached his father and CWC member G. Venkatswamy to counsel him. Former MLA B. Janardhan Goud was summoned by a senior leader and warned not to rub the Telangana protagonists on the wrong side.

The aspirants are upset by these pressure tactics. They feel that the Congress could put up a better show than last year when the TRS, TDP and the Left contested the elections in an alliance. Now, in a triangular contest, the Congress could fare better.