Vastavam web: The ruling Telugu Desam Party in Andhra Pradesh is racing against time to finalise its candidates for the April 11 state assembly and Lok Sabha elections with less than a week left for the commencement of nomination process. According to party sources, TDP has finalised its candidates for at least 125 out of 175 assembly seats, including Pedakurapadu for Naidu’s son Lokesh, but a formal announcement was yet to be made. Chief Minister and party supremo N Chandrababu Naidu held several rounds of talks over the past few days with sitting MPs and MLAs besides other leaders to give shape to the candidates list.
However, the process is said to have been hampered by various factors such as rebellion against many candidates, including some ministers. Pandula Ravindra Babu, who represented Amalapuram (SC) constituency, and Anakapalli MP M Srinivasa Rao had last month joined the YSR Congress led by Y S Jaganmohan Reddy.
The influx of poll-eve party-hoppers as well as deserters is only making the TDPs task more difficult.
With the nomination process set to begin on March 18, the TDP high command is expected to announce at least the first list of candidates. The nomination closes on March 25. In an apparent bid to mollify dissidents, Chandrababu Naidu offered to place the candidates information before the party cadre for scrutiny. Uncertainty looms over the candidature of several ministers as the Chief Minister was said to be keen on fielding them for Lok Sabha.
Ministers K S Jawahar and Kalava Srinivasulu are facing rebellion in the party in their respective constituencies as rival groups are strongly opposing their candidature. Former MLC and local strong man Mettu Govinda Reddy resigned from the TDP protesting the allocation of Rayadurgam Assembly seat in Anantapuramu district to Srinivasulu. MLC Deepak Reddy, who is also opposing Srinivasulus re-nomination, has threatened to contest the Rayadurgam seat as an independent.
Diwakars brother and Tadipatri MLA J C Prabhakar Reddy is also opting out of the contest to make way for his son. Rajamahendravaram MP M Murali Mohan and Kakinada MP Thota Narasimham have announced their decision not to contest the April 11 election. Though Narasimham sought an assembly ticket for his wife, the TDP high command did not oblige. Murali Mohan is seeking the Rajamahendravaram seat for his daughter-in-law.
Former Civil Aviation Minister P Ashok Gajapati Raju is keen on contesting from Vizianagaram Lok Sabha constituency again but the party leadership is also considering the candidature of his daughter. They have asked if my daughter is interested. I consulted her and she said yes. Now, it is for the party to take a call, Gajapati Raju told. The TDP is facing troubles in Anantapuramu, Kurnool, Kadapa, Prakasam, Guntur, West Godavari and Visakhapatnam districts in selection of candidates both for Lok Sabha and state assembly. However, a party politburo member expressed confidence that all the issues would be sorted out.