The Telangana Rashtra Samiti, which has been claiming it will win 16 Lok Sabha seats in the ensuing elections, is focusing on candidates for the four key segments of Chevella, Malkajgiri, Secunderabad and Nalgonda. These four segments have become crucial for the TRS, after Malkajgiri’s sitting MP, Mr C. Malla Reddy, resigned his seat following his election to the Assembly from Medchal segment. Mr Reddy, who had won the Lok Sabha seat on a Telugu Desam ticket in 2014, later joined the TRS.
Mr M. Hanumantha Rao, who contested from Malkajgiri in 2014 on a TRS ticket was defeated by Mr Reddy. In the recent Assembly elections, Mr Rao got elected from Malkajgiri Assembly segment.
As both leaders have gone to the Assembly, the TRS leadership is now in search of a strong candidate for the Malkajgiri Lok Sabha. Even Mr Konda Vishweshwar Reddy, TRS MP from Chevella Lok Sabha seat, quit the party during the Assembly elections to join the Congress.
Though the party leadership initially thought of fielding chairman of the Telangana Legislative Council K. Swamy Goud from Chevella, it is now said to have changed its mind as Mr Goud is not keen on contesting the Lok Sabha election in view of requirement of huge finances and domination of a particular upper caste in Chevella.
Sources in the TRS say party supremo and Chief Minister K. Chandrasekhar Rao and working president K.T. Rama Rao are trying to rope in wife of filmstar Ram Charan Konidela, Upasana Konidela, to contest against her uncle Konda Vishweshwar Reddy. There is also speculation in the TRS that the ticket could go to P. Karthik Reddy, son of Ms Sabitha Indra Reddy.
But some contest this claim, saying that Mr Karthik Reddy contested on a Congress ticket and lost in 2014 while his mother was elected from Maheswa-ram Assembly segment in the recent polls and as long as Ms Sabitha is with the Congress, it would be difficult for Mr Karthik to get a TRS ticket.
The party leadership is also of the opinion that compared to Ms Sabitha’s family, the family of Mr Vishweshwar Reddy wields influence in Chevella. Regarding Ms Upasana Konidela, party sources said their working president had a good rapport with her family and is in touch with Ram Charan’s uncle, film star Pawan Kalyan.
Party leaders are also saying one cannot rule out the possibility of the TRS taking the support of Pawan Kalyan for Malkajgiri and Chevella seats in the 2019 Lok Sabha elections.
The TRS also has to look for a potential candidate for Secunderabad where it polled 1.44 lakh votes and stood fourth, while Bandaru Dattatreya of the BJP, then a TD ally, won.
The MIM, which had stood third with 1.45 lakh votes, has this time decided to support the TRS nominee.The TRS, which won in only one out of seven Assembly segments in Secunderabad for the Lok Sabha seat, has won six segments in the recent Assembly polls.
During the 2014 elections, the TRS had fielded Mr T. Bhim Singh, husband of former Chief Justice of Patna High Court Justice, Ms T. Meena Kumari, and is this time searching for a formidable candidate.
Similarly, the ruling party is looking for a strong leader for Nalgonda Lok Sabha seat, as sitting MP Mr Gutha Sukhender Reddy does not seem to be keen to contest from Nalgonda this time.
Though there were rumours that Mr Rama Rao could contest from Nalgonda, some senior leaders are ruling that out. As chances of Mr Rajeshwar Reddy or Mr Sukhender contesting seems remote, the TRS is in search of a formidable candidate for the seat.