Suspense continues on Congress nominees for Khammam, Karimnagar, Hyderabad

Sources say Congress is expected to announce the names for these Lok Sabha seats in a couple of days, but nominations close in three!

ByRaj Rayasam

Published Apr 23, 2024 | 7:32 AMUpdatedApr 23, 2024 | 7:33 AM


Congress is yet to finalise candidates for the Khammam, Karimnagar, and Hyderabad Lok Sabha seats in Telangana, though hardly three days remain for the nominations to close.

The delay is causing nail-biting anxiety among the aspirants — particularly in Khammam, where too many aspirants are chasing the ticket and all of them have the backing of party heavyweights.

Pending the declaration of the candidate, Velchala Rajender Rao — an aspirant for the Congress ticket for the Karimnagar seat — filed nomination papers on Monday, 22 April.

He has been canvassing that the party would allot him the ticket and that there was no doubt about it.

He has already met the leaders of the party in each of the seven Assembly segments under the Lok Sabha constituency and sought their support for his election.

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The calculations

The party sources said that the decision on Khammam would have a bearing on Karimnagar.

For example, if a Reddy is fielded from Khammam, a Velama might get a chance to contest from Karimnagar.

On the other hand, if a non-Reddy is chosen for Khammam, Aligiri Praveen Reddy might be fielded from Karimnagar.

Praveen Reddy has been insisting on the allotment of the Karimnagar ticket to him since he withdrew from the race for the Husnabad Assembly ticket in favour of Ponnam Prabhakar, who got the ticket and won the election last year.

Congress sources said that as far as Hyderabad was concerned, the party was not very keen on putting up a fight and it would at the most be a nominal contest.

AIMIM is always pally with whichever party is ruling in the state. The unwritten understanding is that if the ruling party helps AIMIM in the Lok Sabha or Assembly elections in the Old City of Hyderabad, it will not contest in the rest of Telangana and thus prevent a split in the Muslim votes. This could help Congress.

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The Gordian knot

According to sources, Congress is expected to announce the names for the three Lok Sabha seats in a couple of days.

Senior leaders from the party in Delhi appear unable to decide who should be fielded from Khammam, which is considered a sure bet for the party.

Deputy Chief Minster Mallu Bhatti Vikramarka is seeking a ticket from here for his wife Nandini, while Revenue Minister P Srinivasa Reddy has thrown his hat in the ring for the ticket for his brother Prasad Reddy.

Meanwhile, Agriculture Minister Thummala Nageswara Rao has thrown his oar in, insisting on a ticket for his son Yugandhar.

The party has reportedly tried several ways to untangle this Gordian knot, but is not getting anywhere.

Chief Minister A Revanth Reddy, in an attempt to solve the problem, proposed the name of former minister Mandava Venkateswara Rao from Nizamabad for the seat.

As he is a Kamma and an outsider, the chief minister is understood to have felt that he might emerge as a consensus candidate but that was not the case.

Though Thummala is okay with Venkateswara Rao as both belong to the Kamma community, Mallu and Ponguleti are determined to get their way.

It appears Ponguleti is insisting that if the ticket is allotted to his brother, he will take personal care to ensure his victory. But the moment Ponguleti pushes forward his brother’s name, the other two — Thummala and Mallu — put their foot down.

Thummala is understood to be arguing that that Khammam is essentially a Kamma seat and it is always Kammas who have won from the constituency.

He cited a long list of Kamma leaders who won from there, including the sitting MP Nama Nageswara Rao who won in 2009 on a TDP ticket and in 2019 on a BRS ticket, as well as Renka Chowdary of Congress, who won in 1999 and 2004.

Against this backdrop, the Congress senior leadership is understood to be leaning towards former MP R Surender Reddy’s son R Raghurami Reddy for the seat.

However, the Kamma lobby in Khammam — headed by Thummala — is vetoing the proposal saying that Reddys won the seat only once: Srinvasa Reddy in 2014 on a YSRCP ticket.

Thus, they are saying, it is foolhardy to lose a seat that is virtually a walkover for Congress by allotting the ticket to a Reddy.

(Edited by Arkadev Ghoshal)