HYDERABAD: Differences within the Congress party in Telangana came to the fore during the presidential election on Monday when two senior leaders staged protest over some changes in the voters' list.
Former deputy chief minister Damodar Rajanarasimha and former minister Ponnala Laxmaiah staged a sit-in at the Gandhi Bhavan, the state headquarters of the party where polling was underway for the post of the president of All India Congress Committee (AICC).
They took strong exception to changes made in the list of voters at the last minute. From Jangaon constituency, Ponnala Laxmaiah and C. Srinivas Reddy were listed as the voters. However, when they reached Gandhi Bhavan to cast their votes, Srinivas Reddy's name was missing from the list. K. Pratap Reddy was included as the voter in place of Srinivas Reddy by the party leaders.
There was utter confusion as both Srinivas Reddy and Pratap Reddy came to exercise their franchise. Laxmaiah lodged a strong protest. Senior leader and former minister K. Jana Reddy tried to pacify him. Due to the controversy, both Srinivas Reddy and Pratap Reddy were stopped from casting their votes.
Laxmaiah and Rajanarasimha staged a sit-in to register their protest over the changes made in the voters' list. Laxmaiah said as a leader who has been serving the party for 55 years, he felt insulted. He said at 11 p.m. on Sunday he and Srinivas Reddy were given voter cards but overnight Srinivas Reddy's name was removed.
Rajanarasimha questioned why a leader was insulted after he was issued a voter card. He said an explanation should be given to the Congress workers why the change was made overnight.
A total of 238 voters from 119 constituencies in Telangana are eligible to cast their votes.