It is all in the family for the Congress when it comes to aspiring for tickets to contest the Lok Sabha and Assembly elections. Nearly two dozen relatives of veteran Congress leaders are vying for tickets this time.
Andhra Pradesh Congress Committee President D Srinivas,besides contesting himself,is hoping for a ticket for his son D Sanjay,the Mayor of Nizamabad. Khairtabad MLA Vishnuvardhan Reddy,who was given a ticket and won after his father died early last year,now wants a ticket for his sister,a political novice,as well as himself.
As the process of shortlisting the candidates began,the election committee was flooded with requests from senior party leaders seeking tickets not only for themselves but also for their sons,daughters,wives and daughters-in-laws. Union Minister of State for Human Resource Development Daggubati Purandeshwari daughter of N T Rama Rao has requested an Assembly ticket for her doctor husband D Venkateshwara Rao.
Srinivas says that the election committee is trying to accommodate as many requests as possible,depending on their ability to win. That is the criteria. We are not going by the kith and kin factor. Unless they have a good reputation in public and can win,we wont consider them, Srinivas says.
The CMs son,Y S Jaganmohan Reddy,is likely to contest from the family turf of Kadapa Lok Sabha constituency while brother Y S Vivekananda Reddy,the sitting MP,is likely to be shifted to another seat. The CM will contest from his hometown Pulivendula.
The trend was set off by ministers. Confident they will be re-elected this time,they feel that their kith and kin also have a good chance of getting elected, says Congress spokesperson Venkateshwara Paladugu. Most of the ministers,while seeking re-election as MLAs,are requesting Lok Sabha tickets for their family members.
The first request was by Information and Public Relations Minister Anam Ramnarayana Reddy,who suggested that his brother Vivekananada be given a ticket this time. This was followed by requests from IT Minister Damodar Reddy for his brother Rama Reddy,and Panchayati Raj Minister J C Diwakar Reddy seeking a Lok Sabha ticket for his brother Prabhakar Reddy. Revenue Minister Prasad Rao too wants an Assembly ticket for his brother.
Dharmasouth R Naik,Tribal Welfare Minister,is learnt to be lobbying hard for a ticket for his daughter,a social worker.
In spite of being given a cold shoulder by the CM,Kurnool MP K Surya Prakash Reddy has sought a ticket for his wife,Sujatha,while Housing Minister B Satyanarayana is demanding a ticket for his wife,Jhansi. Vizag MP and former chief minister N Janardhan Reddy is hoping to get a ticket along with his wife,N Rajyalakshmi,who is the Women Development and Child Welfare Minister.
Besides ministers and MPs,at least 41 MLAs having politically active family members are seeking tickets for them too,sources in the APCC said.