KCR picks Marepalli Sudheer Kumar, a Madiga, as candidate for Waragnal SC seat in place of Kadiyam Kavya

Marepalli Sudheer Kumar has been with the party since its inception in 2001, and also took part in the Telangana movement.

ByRaj Rayasam

Published Apr 12, 2024 | 8:24 PMUpdatedApr 12, 2024 | 8:24 PM

Marepalli Sudheer Kumar

After BRS Station Ghanpur MLA Kadiyam Srihari’s daughter Kavya ditched the party and joined Congress despite the pink party allotting her the ticket for the Warangal (SC) Lok Sabha seat, BRS supremo and former Telangana chief minister K Chandrashekar Rao has handpicked Marepalli Sudheer Kumar — a Madiga — for the seat.

KCR announced the decision on Friday, 12 April, after discussing his candidature with leaders of the party from the constituency.

Sudheer Kumar is at present Hanumakonda Zilla Parishad chairman. He has been with the party since its inception in 2001. He also took an active part in the Telangana movement.

Also Read: Imponderables make polls dicey for Telangana Congress in Bhongir

What’s bugging BRS?

The party originally decided to field Kadiyam Srihari’s daughter although she belonged to the non-Madiga subcaste Byndla.

He even allotted her the ticket, and she expressed her gratitude to him for the gesture.

After Congress reached out to Srihari, Kavya dashed off a letter to KCR, rejecting the ticket offered to her.

She said she had decided against contesting from the Warangal (SC) seat on behalf of BRS, which she claimed had come to be mired in scams and land encroachment cases.

After KCR offered the ticket to Kavya, sitting BRS MP Pasunuri Dayakar, who belongs to the Madiga caste, left the pink party and joined Congress hoping he would be fielded from the seat.

Close on his heels, Kavya also quit the party, leaving KCR red-faced. For some time, the BRS chief did not even take any decision even as Congress announced the Warangal ticket for Kavya.

Interview: Manda Krishna Madiga on why he claims Modi is Madigas’ saviour

Caste equations

Meanwhile, MRPS leader Manda Krishna Madiga began targeting KCR for not fielding a Madiga for even one of the three Lok Sabha seats reserved for SCs in the state.

What had riled him was the fact that BRS, after nominating Mala leaders RS Praveen Kumar for Nagarkurnool and Koppula Eeeswar for Paddapally, had chosen to allot the Warangal ticket to another non-Madiga candidate.

Against this backdrop, KCR — realising the backlash that he might get from Madiagas, who are numerically strong in Telangana — decided to placate the Madigas by fielding Sudheer Kumar.

According to the Integrated Household Survey done by the Telangana government in 2014, SCs numbered 63,60,158 — about 18 percent of the total population — in of the state, which stood at 3,68,76,544.

BRS now has at least something based on which it can argue that it is much better than Congress, which fielded two Malas and one Byndla (a non-Madiga) for the three seats.

However, it does not have an edge against BJP, which has fielded two madigas — Aroori Ramesh (Warangal) and P Bharath (Nagarkurnool) — and one Mala: Gomasa Srinvias (Peddapally).

(Edited by Arkadev Ghoshal)