Hyderabad: Has the Congress thrown in the towel even before the fight began or is it a diabolical attempt to hurt the TRS’ prospects in the October 30 Huzurabad Assembly constituency by-poll, even if it means throwing ideology to the winds? These are the question doing the rounds in political circles ever since the Grand Old Party announced Balmoori Venkat Narsing Rao as the candidate for the by-election.
A rank outsider in the constituency, Balmoori Venkat, NSUI State president, can hardly be considered as a serious candidate, pitted against the ruling TRS nominee Gellu Srinivas Yadav and BJP’s Eatala Rajender. While both TRS and BJP had announced their candidates well in advance, Congress virtually pushed in Narsing Rao’s name in the last minute, unable to zero in on a candidate despite appointing a committee headed by senior leader Damodar Rajanarasimha to select the party nominee.
Questions over Narsing Rao’s candidature cropped up particularly since TRS has been consistently maintaining, even before the poll notification, that the Congress was trying to ensure that the tide goes in favour of Rajender. Congress insiders say former Minister Konda Surekha, who was among the probables initially, was sidelined on purpose. Considering her experience and local clout, even if it is limited, Surekha would have been the ideal candidate irrespective of the outcome in the by-election, a senior Congress leader said, pointing out that Narsing Rao was a novice who can’t face the electorate in Huzurabad.
Besides, Narsing Rao is a native of Peddapalli, and this has not gone down well with local Congress leaders and workers in Huzurabad. Before finalising his candidature, Congress had invited applications from interested candidates to contest the election. Over a dozen persons filed their applications and setting aside all the applications, the party leadership recommended Narsing Rao’s name. The aspirants, which include local leaders, are a peeved lot and may not play the role expected of them in the campaign. So much so, the State unit leadership held a meeting with these leaders last week in the city and tried to pacify them, citing that Narsing Rao’s name was finalised under ‘compelling’ conditions without explaining what it was.
Adding fuel to fire, TPCC president A Revanth Reddy’s ‘friend’ and former MP Konda Vishveshwar Reddy has reportedly written letters to Huzurabad voters urging them to cast their votes in favour of Rajender. The Huzurabad by-poll, seen by many as a litmus test for Revanth Reddy, may well also spell his doom.
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