HYDERABAD: Even as several senior Congress leaders questioned TPCC chief N Uttam Kumar Reddy for announcing the name of his wife and former Kodad MLA N Padmavathi Reddy as the party candidate for Huzurnagar Assembly bypoll, Congress president Sonia Gandhi on Tuesday announced Padmavathi as the party’s nominee, sending a strong message to his rivals about his influence in the grand old party.
The bypoll was necessitated by Uttam Kumar’s resignation from Huzurnagar seat after he won the Nalgonda Lok Sabha seat. A public feud ensued between Uttam Kumar Reddy and party’s working president and Malkajgiri MP A Revanth Reddy with both the leaders announcing their preferred candidates.
While Uttam Reddy wanted to field his wife Padmavathi Reddy, Revanth Reddy suggested party spokesman S Kiran Kumar Reddy’s name. Revanth Reddy had taken a strong objection to Uttam announcing his wife’s name and even threatened to lodge a complaint with AICC State in-charge RC Khuntia to take action against him.
Now, Sonia Gandhi’s announcement has not only silenced Uttam’s rivals but also consolidated his position in the party. Uttam had won against TRS candidate S Saidi Reddy by over 7,000 votes during the last Assembly polls. Padmavathi had lost the election from Kodad with a narrow margin in 2018 and this time she is contesting from her husband’s constituency, hoping to retain the seat.
This will be the 46-year-old architect-turned-politician’s third election. She won the Kodad seat in 2014, but could not retain it in 2018. The party, especially Uttam, would make an all-out effort to retain the seat as the ruling TRS would be using all its might to snatch the seat from the Congress.
Eight aspirings for BJP ticket
Meanwhile, the BJP is finding it difficult to find a suitable candidate to take on Congress and the TRS candidates. The party is said to have received about eight applications from the aspiring candidates, but none of the names are big enough to give or win the confidence of the voters. In fact, the saffron party was expecting the mother of the first martyr of separate Telangana agitation Srikantha Chari and TRS leader K Shankaramma to join the party, but so far there was no word from her. According to sources, the party was planning to give a ticket to her as she was popular in the region and could register a win.“Shankaramma has not contacted me. I have no information about her plans,” BJP State unit chief K Laxman told the media.
Meanwhile, among the eight ticket aspirants, Srikala Reddy is considered the front runner. The others are former MP Ravindra Naik, senior advocate Rama Rao, Jaipal Reddy, Ramakrishna Reddy and Bhagya Reddy.