Local sentiment is likely to be the key issue in the candidate selection in the Nagarjuna Sagar by-poll, which the ruling Telangana Rashtra Samiti (TRS) is desperate to win after two unsatisfactory performances in Dubbak by-poll and the GHMC elections.
Despite rumours of senior Congress leader K. Jana Reddy being wooed by both the TRS and the BJP, it looks quite certain that he is likely to be the candidate from the Congress if he wishes to be. The TRS is looking for a candidate of his stature and a local candidate as the sentiment is gaining ground.
In this backdrop the names of Legislative Council Chairman, Gutta Sukhender Reddy and TRS leder MC Koti Reddy, who was also the aspirant in 2018 Assembly elections, have cropped up. Mr. Koti Reddy is also the follower of Minister G. Jagadish Reddy and he is likely to pull strings in his favour if the need be.
The US returned TRS supporter, Gaddampalli Ravinder Reddy is also staking claim and has been actively working in the constituency. Party is also considering a family member of late Nomula Narsimaiah, who represented the constituency till his death recently.
The fresh experience of people rejecting candidate in Dubbaka is playing on party’s mind as the result proved people are not willing to accept a family member if they are not in active politics. “You can’t thrust anyone” is the argument heard quite loudly among the TRS cadre in the constituency.
Sources said the party wants to go with a candidate whose stature is equal to Mr. Jana Reddy or a candidate from the same social group to give a tough fight. Mr. Jana Reddy has indicated to his well-wishers that he doesn’t have any intentions to switch parties at the fag end of his political career.
There are rumours of TRS wooing Mr. Jana Reddy with Rajya Sabha nomination and ticket for his son. But none of the TRS leaders have confirmed it.
A senior TRS leader, on condition of anonymity, said that there is a surging demand from the cadre that candidate should be a local unlike 2018 since the election is going to be tough for the ruling party on various counts. “A non-local will only add to the burden.”
Whether Mr Sukhender Reddy is keen on taking Mr. Jana Reddy is a question that remains to be seen and he is said to have asked for sometime before taking a final call. He is already seeking the opinion of his followers on his candidature. Meanwhile, Mr. Koti Reddy is already on the job in the constituency expecting Chief Minister’s favour this time.
Candidate selection cannot be delayed as the elections are likely to be held in February 2021 with the notification released in January. The Election Commission of India may notify Nagarjunasagar by-poll along with Tirupati Lok Sabha by-poll, which has to be completed before March, within the six-month period of its vacation.