Unreasonable delay in naming candidates to hurt Congress in some constituencies in Telangana

The reasons for the delay may be many but it has sent wrong signals to the cadre in many other constituencies as well where the Congress announced names much after BJP and BRS announced their names

Published - April 21, 2024 04:03 pm IST

Congress supporters attend the public meeting.

Congress supporters attend the public meeting. | Photo Credit: ANI

In its yearning to bag 14 seats in Telangana, Congress seems to have lost the plot in at least two to three constituencies with enormous delay in the announcement of candidates.

Even three days after the nominations have started there is no sign of revealing the names for three constituencies – Khammam, Hyderabad and Karimnagar. Being in a strong position in Khammam and the intricacies involved it is doing much harm to its prospects. In Hyderabad, the party doesn’t see any chance of coming near to winning and the delay makes no difference.

But in Karimangar, where it has a fair chance of winning given its performance in the Assembly polls and also the morale of the BRS workers down, the inordinate delay makes no sense is the argument of senior leaders. The caste equations are coming to play here and linked to Khammam seat, according to party sources.

The party high command views that if a Reddy community leader gets ticket in the Khammam seat, the Karimnagar seat would have to be accommodated to a non-Reddy and most probably a candidate from the Velama community that wields considerable clout in the district.

There are multiple aspirants for the Khammam seat with two strong contenders being Nandita, wife of Deputy Chief Minister, Mallu Bhatti Vikramarka, and Prasad Reddy, brother of Revenue Minister Ponguleti Srinivas Reddy, who is financially strong and also shown his influence in the district in the Assembly elections ticket distribution.

The Central Election Committee (CEC) is under pressure from both Mr. Vikramarka and Mr. Srinivas Reddy for accommodating their family members. Agriculture Minister Tummala Nageshwara Rao has also thrown his hat in the ring for his son as the competition intesified.

Another name that cropped up in the last 10 days is Raghurami Reddy, son of Congress stalwart and Octogenerian Ramasahayam Surender Reddy, who represented the neighbouring Mahabubabad constituency four times in the Parliament apart from being a MLA multiple times. Raghurami Reddy is also a close relative of Mr. Srinivas Reddy.

Since the Khammam district has a strong presence of Kamma community, Mr. Tummala Nageshwar Rao also batted for former TDP Minister Mandava Venkateshwar Rao, who is a native of Nizamabad district. Since the Congress has sent Khammam native Renuka Chowdary to Rajya Sabha recently the ‘Kamma’ factor may not work.

The reasons for the delay may be many but it has sent wrong signals to the cadre in many other constituencies as well where the Congress announced names much after BJP and BRS announced their names.

This confusion applied to the Malkajgiri constituency, which was represented by Mr. Revanth Reddy before he assumed the office of Chief Minister. There were several names thrown up here before the party chose to field Sunita Mahender Reddy, who was expecting the Chevella seat where her husband Mahender Reddy, MLC has a strong influence. The delay was also seen in Nizamabad where MLC T Jeevan Reddy has been fielded, and also in Medak where Neelam Madhu was declared as the candidate. The BJP candidates are way ahead in the campaign here capturing the imagination of the voters.

What the delay has resulted is that the Congress candidates have to start from scratch while the BJP and BRS have finished their first round. In Karimnagar, sitting MP and BJP candidate Bandi Sanjay and BRS candidate B Vinod Kumar have already covered all the seven Assembly constituencies with no sign of any Congress campaign. A similar situation is in Khammam.

Speaking to The Hindu, some senior Ministers expressed their displeasure saying they had lost the plot in some constituencies much before the campaigning started. The Warangal constituency episode where BRS contesting candidate Kadiyam Kavya was roped in also left some scars on the local leadership.

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