HYDERABAD: Sticking to his habit of springing last-minute surprises, Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister and TDP boss N Chandrababu Naidu on Monday cleared the names of three candidates from his party for the three MLC seats, which the ruling TDP is sure of winning out of the five seats that are going to polls under the MLAs quota, by betting on “little known faces” in the party.
Though Naidu backed the candidature of party’s programmes committee chairman VVV Chowdary (East Godavari district), whose name had been doing rounds in the party circles as a front runner, because of his proximity to the party boss, for one seat for the past few days, the TDP chief dropped the name of party’s Nellore district unit chief Beeda Ravichandra Yadav and preferred to field Gummadi Sandhya Rani, who had contested the last general elections unsuccessfully from the Araku Lok Sabha constituency.
Interestingly, while selecting Sandhya Rani, who is an ST (Konda Dora) and hails from Vizianagaram district of North Andhra, Naidu relaxed his own rule that leaders who had lost in the general elections are not eligible for MLC seats, which he had imposed to deny MLC seats to party seniors.
For the third seat, Naidu picked former Congress leader G Thippeswamy (Anantapur district), who had joined the TDP just before the 2014 general elections. By preferring the candidature of Thippeswamy, who is a BC, Naidu seems to have tried to give representation to BCs and also the backward Rayalaseema region.
Interestingly, though several of the party seniors were in the race for the three MLC seats considering the Council route as a golden opportunity to revive their political careers, Naidu politely poured cold water on their aspirations by picking “freshers” for the three posts.
True to his usual style of eliciting the views of his party MLAs and seniors before announcing his final decision on any issue, Naidu had been holding hectic parleys with his partymen for the past three days over who should be the right candidates for the three MLC seats from the TDP.
Interestingly a senior TDP MLA, who has been watching the style of functioning of Naidu for almost three decades, told Express with a smile, “Our boss first decides his choice of names for the seats. Later, he elicits the views of party men in accordance with his decision. Finally, he holds the party politburo meet and gives democratic touch to his decision.”
Of the total five seats, which are going to polls, the TDP is sure of bagging three seats and the YSRC the remaining two on the basis of their strength in the Assembly. The YSRC had already fielded its candidates for the two seats. Former minister Pilli Subhash Chandra Bose (East Godavari) and former Congress leader K Veerabhadra Swamy (Vizianagaram) are in the fray from the party.