It's going to be steely Renuka vs power-hungry TRS

ItRenuka Chowdhury

A high decibel slugfest is on the cards between maverick Renuka Chowdhury of Congress and Nama Nageswara Rao of Telangana Rashtra Samithi for Khammam...

Khammam: A high decibel slugfest is on the cards between maverick Renuka Chowdhury of Congress and Nama Nageswara Rao of Telangana Rashtra Samithi for Khammam Lok Sabha seat with the duo set to revive their two-decade-old rivalry. Currently, the win-loss record between them shows one-all.

The two-time Lok Sabha member and former Union Minister Chowdhury faced a tempest of a situation in 2013 post endorsement of creation of Telangana by the Congress Working Committee (CWC) when her antagonists within the party tried to isolate her by terming her as an 'outsider' and 'anti-Telangana'.

However, she stood her ground firm and had always claimed herself to be the daughter of Khammam soil. She then fittingly resisted the efforts of her detractors who tried to side line her from district politics. Such was her grit. Chowdhury's firebrand approach in politics and her proximity to the Gandhi family have also helped her stay in the limelight.

Although she was in the race for Khammam Lok Sabha ticket in 2014, the Congress had to make way for Communist Party of India (CPI) as part of their poll pact. Eventually, Ponguleti Srinivas Reddy (then in YSR Congress) emerged victorious defeating Nama (then in TDP) and CPI's K Narayana.

The Congress leadership took its time before announcing ticket for Chowdhury, probably waiting for Ponguleti Srinivas Reddy of the Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS). It was speculated that the latter would join the Congress after denial of ticket by the TRS which surprisingly chose to field Nama.

Against this backdrop, Chowdhury is back in the election fray. The immediate task before her is to coordinate with other leaders especially Congress Legislature Party (CLP) leader Mallu Bhatti Vikramarka and former CLP Deputy leader Ponguleti Sudhakar Reddy.

Even though it had won Madhira, Kothagudem and Palair Assembly segments of the Khammam Parliament constituency in recent elections, the Congress has been facing crisis since two of its MLAs Vanama Venkateshwar Rao and K Upender Reddy defecting to TRS. Now, the Congress is left with Madhira segment represented by Bhatti Vikramarka.

"First and foremost, Choudhury had to contend with groupism in her own party. That is decisive if she wants to make an impact in the polls. The welcome sign is that the district unit of the Telugu Desam Party, which is not in poll fray, has agreed to support her candidature," a senior Congress leader told The Hans India.

The Congress will have the support of other TDP MLA Mecha Nageswara Rao who represents Aswaraopet. Sathupally MLA Sandra Venkata Veeraiah has already expressed his willingness to join the TRS and he won't be supporting Congress.

On the other hand, Nama Nageswara Rao is now flanked by top brass of TRS leaders especially Tummala Nageswara Rao, Ponguleti Srinivas Reddy, Puvvada Ajay Kumar and Jalagam brothers – Prasad Rao and Venkat Rao. It may be mentioned here that Nama had an extended rivalry with all these leaders at some point of during his political career. Come what may, Chowdhury, the one who never minces her words to criticise anyone, will be a tough opponent for Nama, the locals say.

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