The ruling YSR Congress Party (YSRCP), which is keen on consolidating its vote bank in the North Andhra region, seems to have strategically chosen members of various communities hitherto neglected as its MLC candidates ahead of the 2024 general elections.
The selection of YSRCP State secretary Narthu Rama Rao as its candidate from Srikakulam under the local bodies quota vouches for it.
Mr. Rama Rao, who had unsuccessfully contested the 2014 general elections from Itcharapuram, belongs to the Yadava community.
The community, which is mostly involved in the dairy business, has been neglected by almost all the parties for the last three decades.
The selection of Mr. Rama Rao is seen as an attempt to please the community that plays a key role in the Itchapuram constituency, where the YSRCP had been defeated in 2019 inspite of the wave in its favour across the State.
The party had initially considered the names of A.P. Kalinga Vysysa Corporation chairman Andhavarapu Suribabu, former Srikakulam Municipal chairperson M.V. Padmavati and Srikakulam DCCB former chairman Dola Jaganmohana Rao for the MLC seat.
However, the leadership has plumped for Mr. Rama Rao to consolidate the vote bank in Itcharapum, where the TDP is strong and its candidate Bendalam Ashok had won the seat in 2019 elections.
The leadership has considered Penumatsa Suresh Babu for the MLC seat under the MLA quota. Dr. Suresh Babu, son of former Minister Penumatsa Sambasiva Raju, belongs to the Kshatriya community, which plays a key role in the Nellimarla and adjacent Vizianagaram constituencies.
The ruling party is according priority to the community here as the TDP is been giving utmost importance to former Union Minister P. Ashok Gajapathi Raju for many decades.
Former MLA of S. Kota Kumbha Ravibabu has been given the MLC seat under the Governor’s quota.
Dr. Ravibabu, who was former professor of Andhra University, is expected to give a boost to the party in the tribal belt, including Parvatipuram-Manyam district.
Dr. Ravibabu, who could not get Araku Lok Sabha seat, was appointed chairman of the Scheduled Tribes Commission a couple of years ago.
The leadership has elevated him to the MLC post as he has been loyal to the party in spite of being denied ticket in the 2014 and 2019 general elections.
He is the lone ST leader to represent the party in the Upper House after ratification of his name from the Governor’s office.