Special Correspondent

Congress rebels stage dharna in front of party office, rasta roko at Gandhi statue

TIRUPATI: As the deadline set for filing of nominations for the Legislative Council elections closed on Thursday, 34 nominations were filed in Chittoor which has been made the headquarters for the Rayalaseema (East) constituency.

The day, however, did not remain incident-free as a section of Congress cadres staged a `rasta-roko' in front of the Gandhi statue and a demonstration in front of the Congress party office throwing traffic out of gear.They were protesting against the last minute deletion of their leader, Reddappa Reddy's name by the AICC from the list and including in his place former Chittoor MLA and DCC president Gopinath, a BC leader. The irate followers of Mr. Reddy, a retired IPS officer who unsuccessfully contested on Congress ticket from Punganur, were seen locked in altercation with DCC president Amarnath over the high command's action. When the DCC president apprised the PCC chief K. Kesava Rao of the developments in Chittoor, the latter was said to have told him to collect a written protest letter from Mr. Reddappa Reddy and fax the same to Digvijay Singh, AICC leader in charge of the State party affairs. Meanwhile, Mr. Gopinath filed his papers amidst a lot of fanfare under the LBs quota. Congress' other official nominee under the LB quota is Jayachandra Naidu.Though the party is yet to announce its candidates for the graduates' constituency, two major contenders for the single seat-- N. Bhanusekhar Reddy, brother's son of Nedurumalli. Janardhan Reddy from Nellore and M.R.C. Reddy from Chittoor have put in their papers pending official declaration.

Telugu Desam candidate for the graduates' seat D. Hanumantha Rao, also from Nellore, filed his nomination and so did Rajasekhar Naidu, an academic from the agricultural university, under the teachers' quota. TDP's candidate under the local bodies quota B.N. Rajasimhulu Naidu also filed his papers.

On behalf of the APTF and the UTF, Ananda Naidu and Dachuri Rami Reddy filed their nominations under the teachers' quota and so did Radhakrishna Reddy from Nellore for the BJP under the graduates category.