The Telangana Congress appears to have managed to convince nine rebels to withdraw from the electoral race on the last day of withdrawal of nominations. The rebels, who had filed nominations after failing to obtain tickets from the party to contest the assembly elections, have withdrawn in favour of official candidates. Adilabad is the only exception where rebel Congress candidate Sanjeev Reddy refused to withdraw from the electoral fray.
Congress leaders say with the experience in Karnataka and elsewhere, the party put in place specific teams to talk to rebel candidates to convince them to withdraw. They were offered other posts or an opportunity to contest in the general elections.
There was high drama at the home of Patel Ramesh Reddy, who had filed nomination from Suryapet, when AICC national secretary Rohit Chaudhary and senior Congress leader Mallu Ravi went to visit him.
The leaders meant to request him to withdraw from the race and support the party’s official candidate Ramreddy Damodar Reddy. But supporters of Patel Ramesh Reddy grew violent and attacked 73-year-old Mallu Ravi after his request for a tete-e-tete. Inside, Mr Reddy, his wife and others were seen crying and pleading with the leaders to support his candidature.
Mr Reddy finally withdrew from the race after he was told he would be given an opportunity to contest parliament election.
Patel Ramesh Reddy was denied ticket in 2018 as well. When the list was announced this time, a video had gone viral where he and his family were seen breaking down, wailing that this was happening to them all over again.
In 2018 too, Mr Reddy was told that he would be given the opportunity to contest parliamentary elections from Nalgonda. But instead, Huzurnagar MLA Uttam Kumar Reddy contested and won.
Ramreddy Damodar Reddy had been a minister in the YSR cabinet and lost the election to Jagadish Reddy of the BRS in 2018 and in 2014. He had moved from Thungathurthi where he was MLA multiple times and was seen to have been backed by Uttam Kumar Reddy and Komatireddy Venkat Reddy — senior Congress leaders who got elected as MPs.
Patel Ramesh Reddy crossed over to Congress from the Telugu Desam Party along with Revanth Reddy, before the 2018 assembly elections.
The move to deny him a ticket is also being seen as a fight for dominance between the Revanth Reddy camp and the Reddy leaders in the Congress from before his arrival.
With the deadline to withdraw nominations ending today, the battlelines are now drawn for the day of voting on November 30.
According to figures shared by the Election Commission, Telangana has over 3.26 crore eligible voters with almost equal number of men and women. Serilingampally segment has the highest number of voters with over 7.32 lakh while Bhadrachalam registered the lowest with 1.49 lakh electors.
Election officials have found 2,898 nominations of candidates for the November 30 assembly elections to be valid before withdrawal and rejected nominations of 606 candidates during scrutiny.