Cong MLA, MLC likely to contest RS polls on united AP platform

An MLA and an MLC are planning to jump into the contest with the support of their party colleagues in the name of ‘Samaikya Andhra Pradesh’ (united AP).

Senior-most MLA JC Diwakar Reddy, who rebelled against the party and went to the extent of seeking replacement of Sonia Gandhi as Congress president, announced on Thursday he was entering the fray for Rajya Sabha. ‘I am certainly in the fray,’ he told reporters in the Assembly lobbies.

MLC Chaitanya Raju, who hails from East Godavari district of coastal Andhra, too said he would contest the RS election. Raju is said to be backed by a minister from coastal Andhra while JC Reddy is entering the fray on his own. While JC Reddy claimed to have obtained signatures of at least 10 MLAs in support of his candidature, Raju is in the process of mustering the required numbers.

The Rajya Sabha elections have come at a time when the Seemaandhra Congress MLAs were seething over the high command’s decision to bifurcate the state by ignoring their views. The legislators seeking to contest the biennial election are said to be banking on the support of majority of the 100 Congress legislators from Seemaandhra region. The Congress is yet to announce its official candidates for the Rajya Sabha election from the state.

Chief minister N Kiran Kumar Reddy and Pradesh Congress Committee president Botsa Satyanarayana are expected to discuss the prospective names with high command leaders in New Delhi on Friday. But the rebel trouble has become a cause for concern for the Congress at a time when it is vertically split on regional lines in AP. Given its current strength of 146 in the Assembly, the Congress could secure victory of 3 candidates on its own and will have to seek support of other parties for the 4th seat. In Telangana, it can win one seat comfortably. The Telangana Rashtra Samiti is also entering the contest, hoping to enlist support of Congress and other legislators from the region. Former MP K Keshava Rao, who jumped over to the TRS from the Congress, is likely to be its candidate.

Meanwhile, Telugu Desam Party has finalised the name of senior legislator Motkupalli Narasimhulu from Telangana for one of the two seats it could win. Though there are many other contenders, TDP chief N Chandrababu Naidu is said to be considering the candidature of one Seeta Mahalakshmi from West Godavari and Somireddy Chandramohan Reddy from SPS Nellore district for the second seat. TDP is expected to officially announce its candidates in the next two days, sources said.
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