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AP: No Congress ticket for Azhar

By Mohammed Siddique in Hyderabad
Last updated on: March 17, 2009 22:01 IST
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The finalisation of the list of Congress candidates for the 42 Lok Sabha seats in Andhra Pradesh has put an end to the speculations about former Indian cricket captain Mohammed Azharuddin entering the electoral fray for parliament.

There were speculations that Azhar might be given a ticket either from Secunderabad or Nizamabad; but the party has nominated the sitting Members of Parliament from both the constituencies--Anjan Kumar Yadav from Secunderabad and Madhu Goud Yashki from Nizamabad.

"These were all mere speculations. I never said that I will be contesting Lok Sabha elections", said Mohammed Azharuddin. "I have always said that I will do what the party leadership asks me to do", Azhar added.

The list of Lok Sabha candidates okayed by the Central leadership has 25 of the 29 sitting members re-nominated, some of them from new constituencies. As the Congress deputy leader from Lok Sabha G Venkatswamy and Chief Minister Y S Rajasekhara Reddy's brother Vivekananda Reddy have opted out of the electoral politics, party has nominated Venkatswamy's son G Vivek from Peddapalle and YSR's son YS Jaganmohan Reddy from Kadapa.

The other two changes are former chief minister N Janardhan Reddy who has been sent to the Rajya Sabbha instead giving ticket to the Lok Sabha, and Harirama Jogaiah who has quit Congress and joined the Praja Rajyam Party.

There has been change of constituencies of three Union ministers. S Jaipal Reddy will contest from Chevella as his constituency Miryalaguda has been scrapped as part of delimitation, D Purandareswari has been nominated from Visakhapatnam instead of Ongole which has been reserved for Scheduled Castes and Panabaka Lakshmi, whose Nellore seat has been de-reserved, has been nominated from Bapatla.

Two other ministers Renuka Chowdhary and Pallam Raju have retained their constituencies of Khammam and Kakinada, respectively. Two defectors from the Telugu Desam Party--M Jagannatham and G Sukhinder Reddy have also been given tickets.

Jagannatham who had supported the Manmohan Singh government during the vote of confidence has been re-nominated from Nagarkurnool seat and former TDP vice president G Sukhinder Reddy, who joined the Congress three days ago, got the ticket from Nalgonda.

Caste and community break up of the candidates show that more than one third Congress tickets have been shared by the Reddy and Kamma castes, whose total share in population is 9.5 percent.

Reddy's with a population of 5.9 percent have been given ten tickets while Kammas with 4.6 percent population have been given five tickets.

Muslims with ten percent population have got two tickets while Kshatriyas with less than 2 percent population have also got two tickets. The Brahmin community has got 1.8 percent population and one ticket. The Backward Classes with 52 percent population have got 12 tickets. Three tribal and six SC members have been nominated from their respective reserve constituencies.

Two candidates from the Muslim minority include sitting MP Mohammed Nizamuddin from Hindupur and state minister Mohammed Fareeduddin from Zaheerabad.

The sitting Telangana Rashtra Samithi member and former Bharatiya Janata Party leader A Narendra, who had deflected towards the Congress during the confidence vote, has been denied ticket from Medak.

Chief Minister Y S Rajasekhara Reddy had his way in getting the ticket for his son but could not stop two of his bitter critics Madhu Goud and G Harsha Kumar getting re-nominated from Nizamabad and Amalapuram.

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Mohammed Siddique in Hyderabad