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Wednesday, December 01, 2021

Bypoll in Telangana’s Huzurabad: Campaigning in controversial ex-minister’s turf ends

For the TRS, the bypoll is a matter of prestige. Former minister Etela Rajender has challenged Chief Minister K Chandrashekar Rao to defeat him.

By: Express News Service | Hyderabad |
October 27, 2021 6:25:05 pm
A four-time MLA from Huzurabad, Etela Rajender resigned from the TRS and as an MLA on June 4 before joining the BJP on June 14. He has been nominated by the BJP as its candidate. (File/ANI)

The campaign for the October 30 bye-election to Telangana’s Huzurabad Assembly Constituency, the home turf of controversial former minister Etela Rajender, ended Wednesday.

It has been necessitated by the resignation of Rajender, the former health minister who was dropped from the Cabinet on May 1 over allegations of land grabbing by a company owned by him.

The four-time MLA from Huzurabad resigned from the TRS and as an MLA on June 4 before joining the BJP on June 14. He has been nominated by the BJP as its candidate.

The ruling Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) has nominated Gellu Srinivas Yadav, the chief of student wing TRS Vidhyarthi, as it’s candidate. The Congress has nominated 29-year-old B Venkat Narsing Rao, chief of the state’s NSUI unit, as it’s candidate. He is seen as a novice and faces a tough challenge.

After winning the Dubbaka by-election and performing well in the elections for the Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation (GHMC), the upbeat BJP has launched a serious campaign in the constituency with the popular Rajender attracting crowds. However, there has been lacklustre response to rallies and m settings by BJP state president and MP from Karimnagar Bandi Sanjay and Union Minister for Tourism G Kishan Reddy. The Congress, energised somewhat by Telangana Pradesh Congress Committee (TPCC) president A Revanth Reddy, appears to be lagging in the contest.

For the TRS, it is a matter of prestige. Rajender has challenged Chief Minister K Chandrashekar Rao to defeat him.

The ruling party is leaving no stone unturned to inflict a humiliating defeat on Rajender, and salvage pride lost in the GHMC and Dubbaka by-election. The CM identified Huzurabad for the launch of a pilot project for Dalit Bandhu scheme aimed at empowering Dalits through financial assistance. The Election Commission of India, however, stayed the rollout of the scheme ahead of the polls.

The Chief Minister, while personally overseeing the campaign, appointed Finance Minister and popular party leader T Harish Rao to camp in the constituency and bolster the chances of a TRS victory.

While he was with TRS, Rajender was able to win with good margins due to huge support for the party. The BJP, however, has a negligible presence in Huzurabad. In December 2018 Assembly Elections, BJP candidate Puppala Raghu got only 1,683 votes while Rajender got 1,04,840. The Congress’s Kaushik Reddy got 61,121 votes.

Although the BJP has thrown its weight behind backing Rajender, the TRS may just have an edge over both BJP and Congress.

“The TRS candidate G Srinivas Yadav, 36, is young but he has the full backing of TRS. The party has strong roots and a huge support base in Huzurabad. No other party candidate has any chance here. Even though Rajender was elected four times, he has neglected the constituency,” BC Welfare Minister Gangula Kamalakar said.

Rajender said that he feels he is still very popular in the constituency. “People know me for my work here. They have elected me four times,’’ he said. Bandi Sanjay said the BJP has spread its roots all over Telangana, even in Huzurabad. “We are backing Rajender fully and he has our support. The party is working at the grassroots level in Huzurabad,” he said.

Huzurabad Assembly Constituency has nearly 1.75 lakh voters.

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