KCR, Naidu Play Cat and Mouse in MLC Election

HYDERABAD: Telangana Chief Minister and TRS President Chandrasekhar Rao kept his counterpart in AP and TDP President Chandrababu Naidu on tenterhooks by indulging in a mind game whether to field a fifth candidate or not for the elections to the Legislative Council under the MLAs quota.

The election to fill the six MLC vacancies under the MLA quota is scheduled on June 1. Today (May 21) is the last day for filing nominations. Based on the respective strength in the Telangana Assembly, the ruling TRS can easily win four seats, while the Congress and TDP one each.

It is an open secret about the bitter cold war raging between Rao and Naidu, and both have been crossing swords at each other any given opportunity. The cold war turned into a cauldron with Rao putting his “operation akasrshan” into practice by encouraging defections from TDP into TRS. As a result the TDP strength in the Assembly has swindled from 13 to eight.

Raohas openly declared umpteen times that he would wipe out TDP from the Telangana map, and accordingly, he had been giving pinpricks to Naidu at every opportunity. Thus, the imminent MLC elections provided yet another chance to Rao to indulge in giving Naidu sleepless nights.

Though TRS can easily pocket four out of the six MLC seats, Rao tried playing a mind game of sending feelers that the ruling party would file a fifth candidate to scuttle the chances of TDP to bag the one seat it can win with the support of BJP.

Consequently, the TRS has selected its five nominees – Deputy Chief Minister Kadiam Srihari, Minister Thummala Nageshwar Rao, former Deputy Chairman of the Council Vidyasagar Rao and Yadava Reddy and Venkateshwarlu.

The Congress has decided to field the former chief of the Mahila Congress Akula Lalitha, virtually giving a shock treatment to many of its senior party leaders, including many former ministers. However, the TRS, despite deciding its five candidates, has not officially announced the names till the last minute heightening the suspense in political circles.

The game plan of the TRS was supposedly to wait for the TDP to announce its nominee and then reveal the names of its candidates. In the meantime, the BJP approached the TDP to leave the one seat to the party for ensuring its presence in the Upper House.

The TRS also made it known that it would not field a fifth candidate if the BJP entered the fray in place of the TDP. However, if the TDP fielded its own candidate denying an opportunity to BJP, the TRS made it amply clear that it would field its fifth candidate.

The TRS and TDP indulged in a cat and mouse game by not announcing their nominees till the fag end of filing nominations on Thursday. Naidu held several rounds of confabulations with senior party leaders till the eleventh hour whether to field its nominee or leave the seat to BJP.

The suspense surrounding the candidates ended with the TDP at last deciding to field Narender Reddy as its nominee. Simultaneously, the TRS, too, announced that it would be fielding all the five candidates whose names were in circulation.

-NSS

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