Congress is in dilemma over the selection of the candidate for Warangal parliamentary byelection. The signals from 24, Akbar Road, New Delhi indicate that Congress is mulling over fielding former Lok Sabha speaker Meira Kumar as the party’s candidate. But, it is unlikely to go down well with the T-Congress. Since Warangal is SC reserved constituency, Congress high command feels, a national leader like Meira Kumar would give a tough fight to TRS nominee. Many in the party feel that local candidate alone would fare well than imported Meira Kumar.
Logic behind Meira’s candidature
Party sources say Meira Kumar has many positive points. One, she chaired the Lok Sabha session when the house was debating the AP Reorganization Bill-2014. The argument is that she had ably controlled the house which otherwise would have had Lok Sabha derailed leading to adjournment. It may be recalled that the bill was passed in unprecedented uproar amid the sprinkling of pepper spray by Congress MP Lagadapati Rajagopal (Vijayawada). The House was locked from outside and live telecast was discontinued. And the Bill was passed. Congress wants to show the high drama as the Meira Kumar’s support for Telangana and Telangana people should also reciprocate the gesture by casting their vote in her favor. The second reason they are citing is her pedigree. She is the daughter of Babu Jagjivamn Ram, one of the greatest dalit leaders. In 2014 she contested from Bihar’s Sasaram and lost.
Some leaders see this as not a wise decision. Fielding local candidate banking on growing anti-incumbency against TRS government would be the right strategy, they say.
“This is not the right time to express gratitude to Meira Kumar. This election is politically very significant for the party as Congress has been fighting against TRS’ corruption. Winning the Warangal seat will enthuse the party cadre to work hard to win the 2019 elections. The party has to think of fielding a local candidate who has better chances of winning the seat,” said a senior leader.
However, TPCC working president Bhatti Vikramarkha Mallu told Telugu 360 that no final decision had been taken on the party candidate.
“Election is too far away. The name of Meira Kumar is media’s speculation. The party will take a decision on the candidate after several rounds of talks in the party,” he said.
As the Lok Sabha speaker Sumitra Mahajan accepted the resignation of TRS member Kadiam Srihari, who was inducted into T-cabinet, election commission is expected to set the process in motion any time. Congress is also planning to bring Rahul Gandhi to Warangal next month to address a rally and to officially launch the election campaign.