Ram Madhav may be BJP’s candidate from Andhra Pradesh

Vijayawada: With Union Ministers Venkaiah Naidu and Nirmala Sitharaman shifting states for Raya Sabha polls, speculation is rife that BJP may field party general secretary Ram Madhav from Andhra Pradesh.

The tenure of Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu is also coming to an end and there are indications that his name could also be considered from the state.

In 2014, the TDP gave one seat to Sitharaman, Minister of State for Commerce, but the BJP this time chose to field her from neighbouring Karnataka.

The May 17 meeting between Sitharaman and Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu during his trip to New Delhi had led to speculation about her re-nomination from AP.

Top BJP leader and Union Urban Development Minister M Venkaiah Naidu last night held a telephonic conversation with Chandrababu over the seat-sharing for Rajya Sabha biennial election slated for June 11.

Venkaiah, who hails from Andhra Pradesh, was earlier elected from Karanataka. He has shifted to Rajasthan this time though he was expected to move to Andhra Pradesh.

Venkaiah made an unscheduled visit to Hyderabad last evening and spoke to Chandrababu, who was camping in Tirupati for the TDP’s Mahanadu, over phone and discussed the issue.

Venkaiah was said to have informed Chandrababu about the BJP leadership’s decision to shift him to Rajasthan and Nirmala to Karnataka and wanted one seat in AP spared for “another candidate”, according to sources.

With May 31 being the last date for filing nomination, TDP politburo is expected to take a decision on seat-sharing soon following which an official announcement will be made.

In all, four seats are to be filled from AP of which three will go to the ruling combine and one to the lone opposition YSR Congress.

While Satyanarayana Chowdary’s candidature is almost certain, another seat may go to Hemalatha, a former MLA from Satyavedu in Chandrababu’s native Chittoor district, as a woman belonging to Dalit community.

The third seat may be allotted to BJP as part of the alliance between the parties.