The Praja Rajyam party has switched into overdrive trying to short-list the names of aspirants for Assembly and Parliamentary constituencies and, while on the job, the going appears to be getting tougher with leaders from two schools of thought trying to impose their will on party president K. Chiranjeevi.
While one school feels that any exercise to finalise candidates should start with the weaker sections, specially the Backward Classes, the other underscores the need for people from all sections to be included.
Sources feel it boils down to an ideological battle those who are almost determined on playing caste-based politics and those who feel the need for ‘inclusive’ politics.
A case in point, highlighted recently, concerns Metpalli Assembly constituency in Karimnagar district. An MLA of the Bharatiya Janata Party between 1999 and 2004, the late Tummala Venkataramana Reddy (46), known locally as Damu, joined the PR party and was quickly made district in-charge. While one section wanted him as the party’s candidate from Metpalli, there was a strong lobby that wanted a candidate from the Backward Classes to be named.
However, Damu’s demise following a massive cardiac arrest last Wednesday put paid to the issue.
There was some talk in party circles though that his widow, Mamatha, may in all probability be fielded from the constituency in the elections.
Those for ‘inclusive’ politics also asked Mr. Chiranjeevi to go easy and not announce his ‘preferences’ during his road shows, referring to his speech at Sircilla where he said he would give the party ticket to someone from the weavers’ community.
The case of Manemma, a tribal woman from Pambali village in Vakadu mandal of Nellore district was received differently though and many Praja Rajyam leaders appreciated his decision in making her a brand ambassador for the party.
Given the fact that Mr. Chiranjeevi belongs to the ‘Kapu’ community and also because of his emphasis from day one on ‘social justice’, there has been a general preference among people who matter in the PR party, for those from the ‘weaker sections’.
As of now, though, those responsible for short-listing candidates are busy with the ‘verification’ before passing on the list of candidates to the party’s high command.