Congress to infuse fresh faces in Telangana, uses 'one family, one ticket' ruse

Finding the greedy senior leaders too hot to handle, the high command has enforced the strategy to ensure balance in the allotment of tickets

GN Bureau | April 5, 2014



The Congress high command’s ploy of ‘one family, one ticket’ is leaving many senior partymen edgy in Telangana. The party, which is on the verge of finalising its candidates for the soon-to-be-divided state, is said to be employing this strategy to achieve two objectives with one shot: 10 Janpath hopes to pre-empt politics being monopolised by just a few families and also infuse fresh blood into the party using this as a ruse.

Several Telangana Congress leaders have been lobbying hard in Delhi to get their family members nominated for the assembly and lok sabha elections. The perception that the Congress would be able to ride high on the separate Telangana state euphoria has made many of them queue up before 10 Janpath in the recent weeks.

Finding the greedy senior leaders too hot to handle, the party high command has enforced the ‘one family, one ticket’ strategy to ensure balance in the allotment of tickets. As part of its ploy, the Congress top brass will accede to their demands to nominate their family members. But in the bargain, the senior leaders will have to sacrifice their own electoral ambitions for the sake of their kin.

The party is yet to announce its list of candidates for Telangana, but two prominent former ministers of Telangana have already been reportedly denied tickets on these grounds: Sabitha Indra Reddy, former home minister, and Shankar Rao, a controversial minister of Kiran Kumar Reddy regime, are among those destined to lose their candidature.

Party senior leaders in Delhi are said to have minced no words in conveying this message to the two leaders. Sabitha Indra Reddy wants to field her son Karthik Reddy from the Chevella Lok Sabha constituency this time. The party high command has reportedly agreed to accommodate Karthik Reddy either in the assembly or lok sabha list. But, in return, Sabitha has been reportedly asked to give up her candidature from Maheswaram Assembly constituency.

Besides the ‘one family, one ticket’ rule, the CBI chargesheeting Sabitha Indra Reddy in the YS Jaganmohan Reddy disproportionate assets case also worked against her prospects this time. Sabitha, as a former mines minister in the cabinet of late Y S Rajasekhara Reddy, is an accused in a few charge sheets filed with regard to the case.

Similarly, another former minister Shankar Rao is all likely to be deprived of a Congress ticket. The controversial leader was not only seeking re-election from his cantonment seat but he has also been pressing for a party ticket for his daughter Ashmitha. But then, the Congress high command has been looking for a strong reason to sideline Shankar Rao this time. The party top leadership is seized of the ground reality that the intemperate leader had ruined his popularity in the constituency, thanks to a host of controversies.

Shankar Rao was rewarded with a ministry in Kiran Kumar Reddy government for his loyalty to the Gandhi family. But the mercurial leader lost his job within months after he became a major embarrassment for the Kiran Kumar Reddy government and for the party.

The party high command making its mood very clear hasn’t really dampened the spirits of other senior leaders. TPCC chief Ponnala Lakshmaiah, Congress steering committee chief Uttam Kumar Reddy, senior leaders Jana Reddy and D K Aruna are still camping in Delhi. They look to lobby hard till the last minute to ensure that their kith and kin make it to the party’s official lists.

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