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High command ignores YSR's choice

Special Correspondent

Rude jolt to Chief Minister over Rajya Sabha nominees

Keshava Rao, Dasari, Alvi & Sanjiva Reddy get the nodMysoora Reddy is TDP nomineeNominations to be filed today

HYDERABAD: The All-India Congress Committee (AICC) has administered a rude jolt to Chief Minister Y. S. Rajasekhara Reddy by ignoring his recommendation to give the Congress ticket for the Rajya Sabha to his Adviser (Public Affairs) and friend K. V. P. Ramachandra Rao.

The stake in getting the party ticket for Dr. Rao was so high for Dr. Reddy that he had taken him along to New Delhi last week-end when he met AICC president Sonia Gandhi to discuss Rajya Sabha candidates.

He had even introduced Dr. Ramachandra Rao to Ms. Gandhi at the AICC plenary here as a prospective candidate.

But, the Congress high command was apparently unimpressed and gave the ticket to APCC president K. Keshava Rao, Union Minister Dasari Narayana Rao, INTUC leader G. Sanjiva Reddy and outgoing Rajya Sabha member Rashid Alvi.

None of them is the choice of the Chief Minister while Mr. Sanjiva Reddy and Mr. Alvi, a former BSP leader from Uttar Pradesh, have virtually no involvement in State politics.

A few days ago, Congress leaders had believed that Dr. Rao's selection was a certainty. In fact, the Chief Minister had made no attempt to hide his feelings when a scribe described it as "a triumphant return'.

The high command's decision has come at a time when the Chief Minister is considered to be on a political high following the string of mega-events, the high-profile visit of US President George W. Bush and Dr. Reddy getting credit for using his leverage with the Centre to bag the FAB City project.

Asked for his reaction, Dr. Reddy said: "I have absolutely no problem.

If not in Delhi, we will use Dr. Ramachandra Rao's services here. It is not at all a setback for us."

Meanwhile, the Telugu Desam Party named former Minister M. V. Mysoora Reddy as its candidate for the Rajya Sabha. Party president N. Chandrababu Naidu made the announcement after a meeting of the Polit Bureau on Thursday.

All the candidates, including Mr. Azeez Pasha of the CPI, have deferred filing their papers till the last day on Friday.