35 rebels withdraw
TDP and Congress have got some relief with the rebels of both parties withdrawing nominations for the coming assembly and LS polls.
The ruling Telugu Desam Party (TDP) and the opposition Congress in Andhra Pradesh have got some relief with 35 rebel candidates of both parties withdrawing their nominations for the coming assembly and Lok Sabha polls.
On Saturday, the last day for withdrawal of nominations for the second phase of polls, 18 rebels of the TDP and 17 of the Congress withdrew from the contest.
However, 28 rebels of both parties are still in the fray for the assembly elections. Eight of them belong to the TDP.
The second phase of polls April 26 will cover 21 Lok Sabha and 147 assembly constituencies.
A total of 18 candidates for Lok Sabha constituencies withdrew from the contest while the papers of 32 other candidates were rejected. According to Election Commission officials, 148 candidates are in the fray for the Lok Sabha polls.
In assembly constituencies, 257 candidates withdrew their nominations while the papers of 336 were rejected. A total of 1,036 candidates are now in the fray in the assembly polls.
A total of 803 candidates are in the fray in 147 assembly constituencies and 132 candidates in 21 Lok Sabha constituencies going to the polls in the first phase April 20.
The assembly candidates include 48 rebels - 11 of the TDP-BJP combine and the remaining from the Congress and the Telangana Rashtra Samiti.
TDP president N Chandrababu Naidu and Congress leader YS Rajasekhara Reddy are among prominent candidates in the second phase.
Naidu is seeking re-election from Kuppam in Chitoor district while Reddy is seeking another term from Pulivendla constituency in Cuddapah district.
Naidu's younger brother Ramamurthy Naidu, who quit the Congress after being denied a ticket, is contesting as an independent candidate from Chandragiri assembly constituency in Chitoor district.
Naidu, Congress leader D Srinivas and Reddy succeeded in persuading many rebels to withdraw in the second phase. They promised to accommodate the rebels suitably after the elections.
Prominent TDP rebels who withdrew their nominations were R Venkateswara Rao in Gudivada in Krishna district, E Haribabu from both Ongole Lok Sabha and assembly constituency and S Arjuna Rao from Avanigadda.
Another rebel and former minister S Satyanarayana is still in the fray.
V Doraiswami Raju too withdrew from Nagari in Chittoor district thus paving the way for the TDP's official candidate, film actress Roja.
The Congress rebels who withdrew from the contest include K Annapurnamma from Kaikalur and Jaleel Khan from Vijayawada West. Khan had made a sensational allegation that he had paid money to D Srinivas for giving him the party ticket.
The Congress found itself in an embarrassing position when its candidate for Chitoor assembly constituency, CJ Dinesh Kumar Reddy, withdrew in favour of an independent candidate, CK Babu.
Reddy said he would not fight against his cousin and mentor Babu, who was a Congress legislator in the dissolved assembly but was suspended from the party after he was arrested on charges of murder.
This leaves the Congress without an official candidate in Chitoor constituency.
The Congress faced another problem in Madnapalle constituency in the same district when the nomination papers of its candidate Shahjahan were rejected by election authorities as a form had no signatures of party leader Gulam Nabi Azad.
The party is now supporting an independent but facing two rebel candidates.