The nomination papers of rebel candidates KVV Satyanarayana Raju alias Chaitanya Raju and Adala Prabhakar Reddy were declared valid by Returning Officer S Raja Sadaram at the end of the scrutiny, in the presence of state Chief Electoral Officer Bhanwarlal. (Agencies)
Led by Pradesh Congress Committee president and Transport Minister Botsa Satyanarayana, several ministers and party's official candidate KVP Ramachandra Rao made frantic efforts to get the rebels withdraw from the contest or get their nominations rejected on various grounds.
They also met at least eight MLAs, who supported the rebels’ candidature, and requested them to submit letters to the Returning Officer ‘withdrawing’ their support.
Botsa personally met the Returning Officer and told him about the legislators’ decision to withdraw support to Raju and Adala.
Tourism Minister Vatti Vasanth Kumar also met the Returning Oficer and complained that Raju did not furnish details of a criminal case pending against him. But, the Returning Officer promptly asked Vatti to give the complaint in writing.
The Chief Electoral Officer came to the Assembly on the Returning Officer’s request to scrutinise the nominations of the Congress rebels and clarify the rule position.
The Congress team took two lawyers to the Returning Officer to get the rebels' nominations rejected. But, the Returning Officer ruled that the nominations were ‘valid’.
He read out the rule position that stated that a voter cannot withdraw support after the nomination was filed.
“Only the candidate has the right to withdraw,” he pointed out. The Returning Officer’s ruling left the Congress team distraught and the rebels euphoric.
“This is a victory of democracy,” Adala later told reporters and vowed to remain in the fray. “They (Congress leaders) have tortured me in many ways in the last two days. But I refused to budge. I will continue in the fray for the cause of a united state,” Adala added.
Senior-most MLA J C Diwakar Reddy, who was the driving force behind the rebels, said one of the two candidates might eventually opt out. "To give a strong fight and win the election, only one of the two rebels should be in the fray," he noted.
The nomination papers of rebel candidates KVV Satyanarayana Raju alias Chaitanya Raju and Adala Prabhakar Reddy were declared valid by Returning Officer S Raja Sadaram at the end of the scrutiny, in the presence of state Chief Electoral Officer Bhanwarlal.