Khammam conundrum: Bhatti, Ponguleti meet Kharge in Bengaluru

In a bid to avoid upsetting the ministers, who are critical to the party’s chances in the state, Kharge sought their opinions on who the Congress should field, the sources added.
Khammam conundrum: Bhatti, Ponguleti meet Kharge in Bengaluru
Express.

HYDERABAD: In a bid to quell the anxiety in the party ranks over the delay in the announcement of the candidate for the Khammam Lok Sabha seat, AICC president Mallikarjun Kharge met Deputy Chief Minister Mallu Bhatti Vikramarka and Revenue Minister Ponguleti Srinivasa Reddy, who are lobbying to get the ticket for their family members, in Bengaluru on Monday.

According to sources, Congress workers are displeased with the delay in declaring the candidates for Khammam, Karimnagar and Hyderabad. They said that while other parties are filing their nominations and taking up massive campaigns, the grand old party is yet to even finalise candidates, which is affecting the Congress’ prospects in the segment.

It has been learnt that while Vikramarka has been pushing for the candidature of his wife, Nandini, Srinivasa Reddy is lobbying for his brother, Prasad. In a bid to avoid upsetting the ministers, who are critical to the party’s chances in the state, Kharge sought their opinions on who the Congress should field, the sources added.

Announcement likely in a day

In case the party refuses to nominate a family member of a sitting minister, Vikramarka has proposed the candidature of local Kamma leader Rayala Nageswara Rao, who contested the MLC elections last year. Meanwhile, Srinivasa Reddy has put forward the name of Raghuma Reddy, whose father was elected as an MP in undivided Andhra Pradesh multiple times, the sources said.

After taking their inputs, the AICC president reportedly told both the leaders that the party would decide on whom to nominate from Khammam after consulting former Congress chief Sonia Gandhi apart from Chief Minister and TPCC president A Revanth Reddy and Irrigation Minister N Uttam Kumar Reddy, among other senior leaders, before making an announcement late on Tuesday or Wednesday.

Meanwhile, it is learnt that the party leadership also held meetings with ticket aspirants from Khammam, Hyderabad and Karimnagar.

Hurting the party?

While Vikramarka is lobbying for his wife Nandini, Srinivasa Reddy is pushing for the candidature of his brother, Pradeep. The cadre believes that the delay in announcing a candidate is hurting the party’s chances of winning

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