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MLC polls: Congress leaders jittery

Special Correspondent

In-charge Minister’s stern warning makes rebels withdraw from contest



Strategy meet: Krishna District in-charge Minister Dharmana Prasada Rao (back to the camera and speaking on phone) discusses strategy for MLC elections with Ministers, MP and other party leaders at a hotel in the city on Friday.

VIJAYAWADA: Is the Congress quaking in its shoes about the re-election of Ilapuram Venkaiah to the Legislative Council from the Krishna Local Authorities Constituency?

The secretive way in which district in-charge Minister Dharmana Prasada Rao met party leaders in Hotel Ilapuram on Friday and the stern warning he gave to them surely indicates that the party high command is not very comfortable with the changed scenario.

While Mr. Venkaiah was elected to the Legislative Council without any opposition two years ago, this time he is facing a contest from Gudivada Rural MPP president Gutta Sivaramakrishna, the official candidate of the TDP and the Left parties.

Also, Mr. Venkaiah’s own party colleagues – District Cooperative Marketing Society (DCMS) Chairman Kanchi Rama Rao and former Jaggayyapeta MLA Bodduluri Rama Rao – filed nominations, and it took nothing less than a stern warning by Mr. Prasada Rao to make them withdraw their nominations at the nick of the time on Friday, the last day for withdrawal. While the former MLA attended the in-camera meeting convened by the Minister, the DCMS Chairman had to be contacted personally.

The Minister, along with Mr. Venkaiah, the official candidate, reportedly met Mr. Kanchi Rama Rao at an unknown location and convinced him to withdraw his nomination.

Keen contest

Mr. Prasada Rao reportedly told the leaders who attended the meeting to take the election “seriously”, because the margin for victory was likely to be less than 100 votes.

Along with the 59 corporators of the Vijayawada Muncipal Corporation and the councillors of the five municipalities in the district – Machilipatnam, Pedana, Gudivada, Nuzvid and Jaggayyapeta – there are 833 Mandal Parishad Territorial Constituency (MPTC) members and 48 Zilla Parishad Territorial Constituency (ZPTC) members who can vote in the election.

Mr. Prasada Rao told the leaders to be prepared to maintain a camp from January 27 onwards to ensure that the Opposition candidate does not indulge in horse trading.

This time, the TDP had the support of the Left parties that were with the Congress last time, he reminded them.

Among those who attended the meeting were Lagadapati Rajagopal, Vijayawada MP, party senior leader Pinnamaneni Koteswara Rao, his son and Rural Water Supply Minister Pinnamaneni Venkateswara Rao, Animal Husbandry Minister Mandali Buddha Prasad, Zilla Parishad Chairperson K. Nageswara Rao, Vice-Chairperson T. Padmavathi, Vuyyuru MLA K.P. Saradhi and former VGTM-UDA Chairman Malladi Vishnu.

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