New Delhi: The strong anti-incumbency wave against the Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS), and the coming together of arch rivals like the Congress and the Telugu Desam Party (TDP) against the ruling party has made the current assembly elections in Telangana very interesting.
In several parts, a multi-cornered contest is on the cards, while at some places, it is a straight contest between the TRS and the opposition Prajakutami (grand alliance). As people vote in Telangana today (December 7), here is a look at the ten constituencies that will witness interesting contests due to various reasons.
Just 60 kilometres away from the capital city, this constituency is represented by the caretaker chief minister and TRS supremo, K. Chandrashekar Rao, better known as KCR. While the CM still has an edge over the grand alliance’s candidate, V. Pratap Reddy, retaining his seat, however, is not going to be a cake walk for KCR.
It is worth mentioning that in the last election, Reddy got 67,303 votes, coming second while contesting on a TDP ticket. KCR won by a margin of 19,366 votes in a triangular fight between the TRS, TDP and the Congress. The Congress candidate T. Narsa Reddy received 34,085 votes.
However, with the TDP and Congress joining and Narsa Reddy supporting Pratap Reddy, the alliance candidate stands a fair chance of winning.
This constituency, in the capital city, is represented by firebrand Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader T. Raja Singh. He has been booked by police in several cases and is perhaps the MLA with highest number (43) of criminal cases. Controversial speeches apart, recently he was also in the news due to a meteoric rise in his wealth over the past four years. According to media reports, the affidavit filed by Raja Singh before the election commission shows that he has become richer by 14,107% in four years.
Raja Singh got Prime Minister Narendra Modi and UP chief minister Adityanath to campaign from him. However, a large anti-incumbency wave is being reported, citing his non-performance. It is believed that he might even lose his seat this time despite a high-pitched campaign.
His task is even more difficult due to the formidable opponents he is up against. Former minister Mukesh Goud (Congress) and former BJP MLA Prem Singh Rathode (now with the TRS) are contesting against him. In the fray is also the state’s first and only transgender candidate, Chandramukhi Muvvala, from the Bahujan Left Front (BLF), supported by the Communist Party of India (Marxist) (CPI(M)).
Congress MLC, and the Muslim face of the party, Mohammed Ali Shabbir is contesting from here. It was during his tenure as a minister in the state cabinet that 4% reservations for Muslims was provided. Shabbir was defeated by TRS candidate Gampa Govardhan in the last election with a margin of nearly 14,000 votes. However, this time due to anti-incumbency and a new energy within the Congress, Shabbir stands a better chance.
It can be noted that this constituency used to be a Congress stronghold. Moreover, incumbent MLA Govardhan was elected on the TDP’s ticket. Due to the Congress’s alliance with the TDP, Govardhan’s voters might shift in the alliance’s favour, tipping the scales in Shabbir’s favour. Moreover, Jamaat-e-Islami, an influential religio-political Muslim organisation, which otherwise has announced its support for the TRS, is supporting Shabbir in this constituency.
In this constituency of Nalgonda district, the Congress has fielded prominent Backward Classes (BC) leader and MLA from LB Nagar, R. Krishnaiah. He enjoys enormous goodwill among the BCs. Formerly with the TDP, he recently joined the Congress. N. Bhaskar Rao of the Congress is currently representing the constituency.
According a report in The Hindu, one interesting aspect about the constituency is that, it has a history of electing MLAs who are always in the opposition.
This reserved (for Schedule Tribe) constituency in Khammam district was recently in the news after the Telangana police booked a German man for participating in a public meeting held by the Communist Party of India (ML) New Democracy candidate, Gummadi Narsaiah. Currently the constituency is represented by Kanakaiah Koram of the Congress.
However, with the entry of five time former MLA Narsaiah, it is going to be difficult for the Congress to retain the seat. According to a report in The News Minute, “Narsaiah, who is an Adivasi (Koya) man, commands tremendous respect in Yellandu. He’s known as ‘Prajala Manishi‘ (people’s man), and people greet him warmly, when he appeals to them to vote for him. Not just the voters, even his political opponents admire and respect him.”
A stronghold of the All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (AlMIM) in the old city of Hyderabad, it is witnessing an interesting contest. The party fears that it might lose this seat due to a multi-cornered contest.
The formidable candidates facing the AIMIM’s sitting MLA Ahmed bin Abdullah Balala are the TDP’s Mohammed Muzaffar Ali Khan and the BJP’s Ale Jeetendra. Both Khan and Jitendra have a substantial base. In 2009, Balala won against Khan with a margin of 8,371 votes. Khan did not contest the elections last time in the last election. Hence, the fight was between the AIMIM and BJP. However, this time around with Khan contesting on the TDP-Congress ticket, the Muslim votes might be split, making it difficult for the AIMIM candidate to retain his seat.
Late Chief Minister of united Andhra Pradesh and legendary actor Nandamuri Taraka Rama Rao (NTR)’s granddaughter Nandamuri Suhasini is contesting from this constituency on the grand alliance’s ticket. Currently, Madhavaram Krishna Rao of TRS is representing the constituency.
It can be recalled here that, though with the TRS now, Krishna Rao won the seat on the TDP’s ticket and was with the party since its inception. He joined the ruling party in May 2015, hours before the MLC elections.
With Suhasini entering the fray, it will be an uphill task for Krishna Rao to retain his seat. The constituency has an overwhelming number of voters who migrated from Andhra Pradesh, apart from sizable Kapu and Muslim voters. Suhasini is heavily banking on these votes for her victory.
Telangana Pradesh Congress Committee president and prospective CM candidate of the grand alliance, N. Uttam Kumar Reddy is seeking his re-election from the constituency. A former fighter pilot of the Indian Air Force and minister of housing during the united Andhra Pradesh Congress government, he has been representing the constituency since 2009.
Contesting against him is the TRS’s Sanampudi Saidi Reddy. According to PTI, Saidi Reddy worked in Jamaica and Canada over the last decade and returned in 2015. Since then, he has been nurturing the constituency. While Uttam Kumar Reddy is confident of his re-election, Saidi Reddy is trying to evoke local sentiments. “I was born and brought up in Huzurnagar. Please elect a local leader as your MLA instead of a non-local person. I will always available to the people in the constituency,” said Saidi Reddy while addressing an election rally recently.
Heavyweight politician and a possible contender of the grand alliance’s CM post, Anumula Revanth Reddy is contesting from this constituency on the Congress’s ticket. A two time MLA who was formerly with the TDP, he received the loudest cheer and applause at a Congress rally that was addressed by Sonia Gandhi and others last month. Revanth Reddy crossed over to the Congress from the TDP just last year.
Earlier this week, he was arrested from his residence in Kodangal, ahead of KCR’s meeting in the constituency on the pretext of preventing any untoward incident. TRS candidate P. Narender Reddy is contesting against him. According to media reports, both have been accusing each other of propagating false information.
Tough there is no direct fight in this constituency, represented by AIMIM firebrand leader Akbaruddin since 1999. The contest has become interesting after the BJP fielded a Muslim woman candidate, Shahzadi Syed. The Congress has given its ticket to bodybuilder Esa Misri. It will be interesting to see how the BJP and Congress candidates perform in the election.
In the last election, Akbaruddin defeated Dr. Khayam Khan of the Majlis Bachao Tahreek with nearly 60 thousand votes, while the TDP finished third. The TRS and Congress were fourth and fifth respectively.
With inputs from Amrit B.L.S.