Environment Minister Jairam Ramesh may have survived the China gaffe for the time being but whether he will be able to convince the Congress leadership to give him one more stint in the Rajya Sabha from Andhra Pradesh, remains to be seen.
Ramesh, a native of Karnataka, and four other Congress MPs are retiring from the upper house from Andhra on June 21.
With 156 legislators in the 294-member assembly, the Congress is likely to get only four seats this time while the TDP with 92 legislators is set to win two seats.
Hectic lobbying has already begun within the Andhra Congress over the seats with a section vehemently opposed to Ramesh’s re-nomination on the ground that he is an "outsider" who in his first term had done "nothing" for the state.
A state Congress leader said the party already has one outsider — Rashid Alvi — in the Rajya Sabha from Andhra Pradesh. "When we don’t have seats for our own people why should the outsiders get elected from AP," he said.
Ramesh’s woes don’t end here. He is also facing strong opposition from Telangana leaders for his anti-Telangana stand and another section in the party accuses Ramesh of backing YS Jagan Mohan Reddy for the chief minister’s post after his father YS Rajasekhara Reddy’s death.
These sections have requested the leadership not to re-nominate Ramesh, as it would send "wrong signals" to party workers. "The high command is seized of the matter. We will rejoice if he is denied nomination this time," said a Congress MP.
State leaders might be up in arms against Ramesh but in the end they have to go by the high command’s decision. "No questions asked," said a leader.