MAHABUBABAD: The force is strong with All India Adivasi Congress vice-president Tejavath Bellaiah Naik, it would seem. The tribal leader’s decision to contest the polls in Mahabubabad Parliamentary constituency, as an Independent if not supported by the party, has the Congress high command rather worried.
Ever since the party leadership announced that P Balram Naik would be the party’s candidate for Mahabubabad, the district’s tribal leaders have taken up agitations, demanding that party chief Rahul Gandhi reconsider his decision. Rest assured, Bellaiah’s candidature will definitely affect Balram Naik’s chances adversely. The agitating tribal leaders argue that Balram should not be given candidature as he had lost both the 2014 Parliamentary polls as well as the recently-held Assembly elections.
As it is now necessary for the party to win the Mahabubabad seat at any cost, the high command had even summoned Bellaiah Naik to Delhi to discuss the issue.
According to sources, Bellaiah Naik has been summoned in order to convince him not to contest the poll. It is learnt that Rahul Gandhi personally would be interacting with Bellaiah Naik in this regard. Meanwhile, Bellaiah’s supporters claim that he was called because the party was now convinced that he was right for Mahabubabad.
Naik claimed that there was no possibility of him being replaced as the party chose him after lot of consultation. Meanwhile, Adivasi leaders have been expressing their unhappiness with Congress leadership’s alleged preference to leaders from the Lambada community.