Leaders lobby for Andhra PCC chief’s post

10, Janpath, may not yet have applied her mind on whom to give the reins of the AP Congress but party leaders from the state have well and truly begun lobbying for the post.

This time around, the post has assumed more than the usual importance because the PCC president is usually the first choice if the party leadership contemplates a change of guard at Secretariat.

If information emanating from Delhi is any indication, more than a dozen leaders are in the race for the post including the incumbent, D Srinivas, who has already completed two terms and harmed his chances with a disastrous defeat in the recent Telangana byelection.

Srinivas called on Sonia Gandhi last week and later met up with her political secretary Ahmed Patel in the company of Rajya Sabha member K V P Ramachandra Rao. His plea: either retain him in the post or accommodate him in the AICC.

Since chief minister Rosaiah hails from Coastal Andhra, if the leadership decides to balance him with a PCC chief from Telangana, there are any number of contenders, prominent among them being former speaker K Suresh Reddy. Former MP Mallu Ravi, a Dalit, would be more than happy if he is picked and so would Rajya Sabha member V Hanumanth Rao. And one cannot ignore minister J Geeta Reddy: a Dalit married to a Reddy, a woman, well-educated and noncontroversial. Sources said speaker Kiran Kumar Reddy would be one of the names that would definitely weigh with the leaders in Delhi. Coming from a powerful community and from Rayalaseema, he would be useful in keeping the flock together.

A lieutenant of former chief minister Y S Rajasekhara Reddy, Delhi might plump for him as the best bet to run the party at a time when it is weighed down by headaches created by YSR’s son, Jagan Mohan Reddy.

If the choice has to be made from Coastal Andhra, which is doubtful given that the chief minister too hails from there, minister Botsa Satyanarayana appears the most probable candidate. Insiders say his candidature is being backed by CWC member K Keshava Rao.

Interestingly, Botsa also seems to have the backing of TRS chief K Chandrasekhara Rao. Botsa and Rao have recently heaped praises on each other. One view is that it would suit KCR to prevent a Congress leader from Telangana from emerging stronger in the party which is why he is backing Botsa.

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