Telangana: Tough task ahead for In-charge ministers in this LS polls

Internal rifts, miffed cadre, lack of enthusiasm test mettle of leaders
Representational image
Representational image

HYDERABAD: Barely four months in office, members of the Congress Cabinet have a formidable task on hand as they face the Lok Sabha elections in the state. Being ministers, they have no option but to prove their mettle in the constituencies they are in charge of.

The party high command has designated 10 ministers as constituency in-charge and all of them have to cope with internal factions, the antagonism towards the newly-joined leaders, discontent among second-rung leaders, candidate weaknesses, and other pressing issues.

The in-charges also have to contend with the aggressive campaigning by the BJP and BRS.

While the BJP aims to win at least 10 Lok Sabha seats so that its plans to form the next government in the state, the BRS is leaving no stone unturned to criticise the ruling Congress.

Ponguleti’s dilemma

Though the Congress has not announced the candidate for the Khammam seat, the in-charge minister, Ponguleti Srinivasa Reddy, has a tough task at hand. If his brother, Ponguleti Prasad Reddy, gets the ticket, he has to pacify Deputy Chief Minister Mallu Bhatti Vikramarka and Minister Thummala Nageswar, as well as other aspirants. If Prasad Reddy does not get the ticket, Srinivasa Rao’s own supporters may not work hard for the victory of the official candidate.

In Nalgonda, Komatireddy Venkat Reddy is trying his best to keep his hold over the constituency by making sure the party candidate, K Raghuveer Reddy, son of senior leader K Jana Reddy wins. The minister is spending at least five days of the week in Lok Sabha constituency and is conducting election preparatory meetings in every Assembly segment. Venkat Reddy exudes confidence that Raghuveer Reddy will win comfortably.

Heat is on in Karimnagar

Ponnam Prabhakar, who is the in-charge for the Karimnagar seat, faces a difficult task. Prabhakar not only has to contend with the aggressive campaigning of sitting MP Bandi Sanjay of the BJP, he also has to ensure that whenever the Congress finalises its candidate, he makes the most of the limited time available. Meanwhile, the BRS and BJP candidates have completed two rounds of campaigning.

In Peddapalli, Minister D Sridhar Babu is facing a tough time from second-rung leaders who are unhappy with the official candidate. Sridhar Babu has been trying to convince them that the party candidate, G Vamshi, has the backing of the high command, but the second-rung leaders are upset that the Gaddam family has been unduly favoured with multiple members getting tickets.

Unhappy 2nd-rung leaders

Thummala Nageswar Rao, who is the in-charge for Mahabubabad seat, has a relatively easier task at hand. The party won a majority of the Assembly segments that come under the Mahabubabad Lok Sabha seat. However, the second-rung leaders are reportedly unhappy with the candidate Balram Naik, who they allege neglected them in the last 10 years.

The Hindutva factor

Komatireddy Venkat Reddy also faces a tough challenge in Secunderabad, the constituency he has been named in-charge. The Congress has fielded BRS MLA Danam Nagender who recently joined the party. Sources say that this may not be a good thing as Nagender has been accused of harassing the Congress cadre when he was in the BRS. The BJP fielded sitting MP G Kishan Reddy who remains popular in the constituency. Kishan is banking on the Hindutva sentiment to retain the seat. The BRS has fielded T Padma Rao who is well connected with the voters.

Jeopardy for Jupally

Jupally Krishna Rao, the in-charge for Nagarkurnool seat, faces groupism in the party at the ground level. The party has given the ticket to former MP Mallu Ravi overlooking the bid of former MLA SA Sampath. While Sampath has publicly extended his support to Mallu Ravi, his followers may not be so generous and may not work for the victory of the official candidate. The BJP has fielded P Bharat, son of sitting MP P Ramulu while the BRS has nominated RS Praveen Kumar, both strong candidates.

Surekha faces huge odds

Konda Surekha, who is the in-charge for Medak seat, has perhaps the toughest task at hand. Medak is the native district of former chief minister and BRS supremo K Chandrasekhar Rao. BRS troubleshooter T Harish Rao is treating the election as a matter of prestige and is leaving no stone unturned to ensure victory of pink party candidate P Venkatram Reddy. The pink party won six of the seven Assembly segments that form the Medak Lok Sabha constituency. The saffron party has fielded firebrand leader and former MLA M Raghunandan Rao against Neelam Madhu Mudiraj of the Congress.

D Anasuya, better known as Seethakka, faces the challenge of wresting the Adilabad seat from the BJP. To this, she has to utilise all her resources to ensure the victory of Congress candidate Atram Suguna. The BJP has replaced sitting MP Soyam Bapu Rao with former MP Godem Nagesh while the BRS candidate is former MLA Atram Sakkku. The fact that the Congress won only one Assembly segment in the Lok Sabha constituency will make Seethakka’s job tougher. However, Suguna is well known in the constituency and carries a positive image.

In Zaheerabad, Health Minister Damodar Rajanarasimha, who is in-charge for the seat, also faces discontent among the second-rung leadership over appointments to nominated posts. The Congress has fielded former MP Suresh Shetkar who is considered a strongman. The BJP has fielded sitting MP BB Patil while the BRS fielded Gali Anil Kumar who is also well known in the segment.

Much hinges on election results

  •  Absence of fervour from the party cadre is leaving the ministers worried as a defeat in elections would tarnish their political prospects

  •  Especially worried are the ministers who successfully lobbied for tickets for their close associates

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