The second phase of Lok Sabha elections in Andhra Pradesh on April 23 is crucial for the Congress. The Congress made a clean sweep winning 19 of the 20 Lok Sabha seats in south coastal Andhra and Rayalaseema regions,while the TDP managed to win one in the 2004 parliamentary elections. Notable among the Congress MPs who won from the region are Minister of state for Defence M M Pallam Raju from Kakinada,Minister of State for Human Resource and Development Daggubati Purandeswari from Bapatla,and Minister of state for Health and Family Welfare Panabaka Lakshmi from Nellore.
With the resignation of Narsapuram MP Chegondi Venkata Hari Ram Jogiah from the Congress and joining Praja Rajyam in October,2008,the Congress is still left with 18 seats. The TDP lost the single seat it had when Chittor MP D K Aadikesavulu Naidu was thrown out after he cross voted in favour of the Nuclear Deal in Parliament against the party’s whip. Naidu joined Congress and Chief Minister Y S Rajasekhara Reddy rewarded him with the coveted post of chairman of Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanams (TTD).
Now,with the Chief Minister and Andhra Pradesh Congress Committee (APCC) president D Srinivas camping in Delhi to get the list of candidates for Lok Sabha and Assembly seats cleared from the party high command,the Union ministers and MPs are keeping their fingers crossed.
Two of the three Union Ministers of State are affected this time due to delimitation. The Nellore Lok Sabha constituency which was SC seat has been dereserved which means sitting MP Panabaka Lakshmi will have look for an alternative. Bapatla,from where Minister of State for Human Resource and Development Daggubati Purandeswari is sitting MP,has been reserved for SC leaving no option for the daughter of N T Rama Rao to look for an alternative constituency. In trying to accommodate Purandeshwari and Lakshmi in other constituencies,the Congress is ending up rubbing other sitting MPs the wrong way. While Purandeshwari is eying the neighbouring Ongole seat,sitting MP Magunta Sreenivasulu Reddy has already expressed his displeasure. Panabaka Lakshmi is seeking to contest from Tirupati which is reserved for SC. The Congress is apparently unhappy with Tirupati sitting MP Dr Chinta Mohan but is wary of dropping him this time.
A lot of reorganising is being done to accommodate sitting MPs who cannot contest from their own constituencies this time. All eyes are now on Delhi where the election committee of AICC is scrutinising the lists. The MPs list would be declared by March 15.