According to sources, the four-time MP has made it clear to the party high command that he will retire from politics if he does not get a berth in the Union cabinet.
Though the volatile political situation in the state might force the party high command to exercise caution, it is also not in a position to completely ignore the demands of senior leaders. The Eluru has emerged as a strong contender for a berth. Both Rayapati and Kavuri Sambasiva Rao belong to the strong Kamma community. Party insiders said both the senior MPs are gunning for junior minister Daggubati Purandeswari. But, she is also a Kamma leader.
While Purandeswari is serving her second term in the Lok Sabha, Kavuri is a five-time MP. Rayapati is the most experienced as he has served as a member of both the Houses of Parliament. He is considered to be close to 10 Janpath as he has been with the party for the past three decades; Kavuri made a brief exit to serve Tewari Congress before rejoining the Congress.
"Madam personally promised him to do justice next time, when he walked out of Delhi during the cabinet formation in 2009 by hurriedly summoning him back to her residence from the airport," recalled a district minister.
A senior MP reportedly suggested to Sonia Gandhi's political secretary Ahmed Patel to accommodate Purandeswari's husband and senior MLA Venkateswara Rao in the state cabinet to take on Jagan camp in Prakasam district where the YSR scion has a good following. Congress leaders argue that there is a strong need to polarise the second strong community of Kammas to counter the Jagan factor. In such an equation, Purandewari might lose her job.
Another factor that could help Rayapati is that Kavuri represents West Godavari, a Kapu-dominant district. With Kapu leader Pallamraju already in the Union cabinet, sources said the high command could plump for Rayapati.