Expressing confidence that the Congress Candidates would capture both the Kadapa Lok Sabha and the Pulivendula Assembly seats ‘with ease’, Pradesh Congress Committee President D Srinivas on Friday stated the party will go before people with its party manifesto and schemes and programmes introduced during former chief minister Y S Rajasekhara Reddy’s reign in the by-elections.
Talking to media persons at Gandhi Bhavan, the PCC chief expressed confidence that the Congress Candidates DL Ravindranath Reddy and YS Vivekananda Reddy will win in the elections, ‘hands down.’
He however emphasized that the Congress High Command is yet to clear the candidatures of Dr Ravindra Reddy and Mr YS Vivekananda Reddy.
Mr Srinivas also expressed confidence that the people will vote for the Congress Candidates “since they are aware of the good work being carried out by the state government.”
“The people would elect the Congress Candidates with a thumping majority,” he continued.
“The party is taking the by-elections seriously and would make all out efforts to win,” the PCC chief stated. “These elections are undoubtedly prestigious but in no way can they be construed as a referendum on the state government,” Mr Srinivas stated.
“He (former Kadapa MP YS Jaganmohan Reddy) cannot influence the voters in the elections with his money power,” Mr Srinivas added.
Reacting on Telugu Desam Party president N Chandrababu Naidu’s allegation that the Congress had ‘lured’ the Kandula brothers from the TDP since it was unable to find suitable candidates to pit against Mr Jaganmohan Reddy, the PCC chief stated this was untrue. “There are lots of party workers and leaders who are ready to contest against Mr Jaganmohan Reddy,” he clarified.
“The Kandula brothers were admitted to the Congress to strengthen its base,” Mr Srinivas stated.
When pointed out that some Congress MLAs were participating in the election campaign of Mr Jaganmohan Reddy, he said that the High Command was observing all the movements of these leaders and would take serious action against violators of party discipline at an appropriate time.
“I will talk to Chief Minister N Kiran Kumar Reddy in this connection and take serious disciplinary action against the violators. We are not ruling out the option of suspensions from the party,” the PCC chief he stated.
According to sources, the Congress High Command is expected to give its approval for the candidature of Dr DL Ravindra Reddy and Mr YS Vivekananda Reddy as its candidates for the Kadapa Lok Sabha and Pulivendula Assembly constituencies respectively by Friday evening.
Congress spokesperson Tulasi Reddy had on Thursday stated that Mr Kandula Rajamohan Reddy was the party candidate to take on Mr Jaganmohan Reddy, but sources say that the Kadapa strongman had declined to face the former MP, saying that his being named as the party candidate within hours of his joining the Congress would be ‘not right.’
Mr Srinivas told media persons on Friday that there was no hurry to name the party candidates and said that there is ‘ample time’ before the last date of submission of nominations.
Incidentally, the last date for filing of nominations would be on April 18 and the scrutiny of papers would take place the next day. The last date for withdrawal of nominations is April 21.
While polling would take place on May 8, the counting of votes would take place on May 13.