Hyderabad, April 14: Facing a tough challenge in Seemandhra, the Congress has been forced to field fresh faces for a majority of the seats for assembly and Lok Sabha elections.
The party has named almost all loyal outgoing MPs and state legislators due to the mass exodus from the party following the bifurcation of the state.
Unlike in Telangana, there were fewer aspirants for many constituencies in Seemandhra and the leadership did not face problems in naming the candidates.
The Congress is having a testing time in Seemandhra or the residuary state of Andhra Pradesh as both the Telugu Desam Party (TDP) and the YSR Congress are targeting it for dividing the state.
The TDP has an alliance with the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).
The Congress late Sunday released the first list of candidates for elections to the Lok Sabha and the state assembly. It announced candidates for 20 Lok Sabha and 139 assembly seats.
The party has named seven new faces for the seats won by it in 2009.
After K. Sambasiva Rao, who resigned as the union minister this month and decided not to contest on Congress ticket, the party has fielded E. Nageswara Rao from Eluru.
Out of six MPs expelled from the party in February for stalling the Telangana bill in parliament, the leadership has won back A. Sai Pratap. He will seek re-election from Rajampet.
The party has re-nominated union ministers Kishore Chndra Deo (Araku), Killi Krupa Rani (Srikakulam), Pallam Raju (Kakinada), Panabaka Lakshmi (Bapatla) and Kotla Suryaprakash Reddy (Kurnool).
The other candidates are D. Pavan Kumar (Ongole), T. Vijayalakshmi (Anakapalli), K. Durgesh (Rajahmundry), Maheswara Rao (Amalapuram), Ramaiah (Nandyal), Venkatramudu (Hindupur), V. Narayana Reddy (Nellore), K. Venkatakrishna Reddy (Narsaraopet), Sheikh Waheed (Guntur) and D. Avinash (Vijayawada).
More than half of the 139 candidates announced for the assembly elections are new faces. The legislators won on Congress ticket in 2009 have since quit and joined the YSR Congress or the TDP.
Andhra Pradesh Congress chief N. Raghuveera Reddy will contest from Kalyandurg instead of Penukonda assembly seat which he won in the last election.
Former state party chief Botsa Satyanarayana will seek re-election from Cheepurapalle while assembly speaker N. Manohar will contest again from Tenali.
Former minister S. Sailajanath, who was considered close to former chief minister Kiran Kumar Reddy, who quit the Congress and floated Jai Samaikyandhra Party (JSP), will seek re-election from Singanamalla.
Elections to 175 assembly and 25 Lok Sabha seats in Seemandhra are scheduled to be held May 7.
In 2009, the Congress had bagged 107 assembly and 21 Lok Sabha seats in Seemandhra.