HYDERABAD: It was a hectic day for chief minister N Kiran Kumar Reddy and PCC president Botcha Satyanaryana in Delhi where they were engrossed in finalising candidates for the 18 Assembly and one Lok Sabha seat, in consultation with party central leadership.
The two leaders, who shortlisted candidates during the last few days, discussed the probables with AICC general secretary Ghulam Nabi Azad when he was in Hyderabad on Sunday and took the list to Delhi for high command’s approval.
The two leaders conferred with party observer Vayalar Ravi and later met party president Sonia Gandhi where they were understood to have explained to her the state of the party and the exercise they had undertaken to finalise the candidates for the byelections.
They were closeted with her for about half an hour and met Azad at his residence later.
The meeting was still going on when the reports last came in.
According to sources, Congress finalised candidates for 13 of the 18 Assembly seats. For Nellore Lok Sabha, Rajya Sabha member T Subbarami Reddy will be the Congress nominee.
This decision was taken by Sonia Gandhi herself and it was intimated to Reddy when he called on her a couple of day ago.
The seats for which the selection had become tricky included Rayachoti, Rajampet and Anantapur. For Tirupati, Chiranjeevi who was plumping for former MLA Venkata Ramana had his way though mines and geology minister Galla Aruna wanted her son Jaidevi, who is the managing director of Amararaja Batteries, to be considered.
As Aruna belongs to Kamma community which is feeling let down under Congress dispensation, the party leaders at one staged toyed with the idea of fielding Jaidev, but finally the leadership is understood to have decided to filed Venkata Ramana.
Similarly, for Rayachoti, the chief minister has proposed M Ramprasad Reddy, but the party central leadership wanted to nominate a minority candidate. In Rajampet, the chief minister is in favour of M Venkata Mallikharjuna Reddy but there is a demand from PRP quarters that since Balijas are in good number in the constituency, someone from that community be given the ticket.
In Parkal, chief whip Gandra Venkata Ramana Reddy wanted his wife Jyothi to be fielded for the seat, but the minister from the district, Ponnala Lakshmaiah, who himself is a BC, appears to have had his way with the party high command favouring Samma Rao, a BC, for the seat.
The argument being built against allotting tickets to Reddys is that since Reddy community is identifying itself with YS Jagan Mohan Reddy, there is no point in favouring that community and instead minorities or BCs be considered so as to move closer to them.
As regards Anantapur, it has been decided to field a candidate from the minority community.