Any challenge the Congress may have mounted in the Warangal Lok Sabha bypoll of November 21 was hit severely when its candidate Sircilla Rajaiah, a former MP, found himself embroiled in a police case after his daughter-in-law allegedly killed herself and his three grandsons.
The Congress replaced him with another former MP, Sarvey Satyanarayana, but the blow it suffered boosted the hopes of the ruling Telangana Rashtra Samiti (TRS) in a constituency where sentiments were already running high for the party, particularly for Chief Minister K Chandrasekhara Rao. While KCR’s son K T Rama Rao is overseeing the poll preparations and discussing strategy, KCR has put his nephew T Harish Rao in charge of one area of the constituency and both of them are campaigning hard for party candidate Pasunuri Dayakar.
The Congress, the YSR Congress Party, the BJP-TDP and the Left are hoping to play on issues such as farmer suicides and delay in recruitment to government jobs.
Warangal, a reserved SC constituency, has over 15.35 lakh electors in seven assembly segments —Ghanapur Station, Palakurthi, Parkal, Warangal West, Warangal East, Wardhannapet and Bhupal-palle. While Palakurthi and Parkal have TDP MLAs, the remaining five constituencies have TRS MLAs including former health minister Dr T Rajaiah in Ghanapur Station and Speaker T Madhusudhana Chary in Bhupalpalle.
In the 2014 election, Kadiam Srihari of the TRS won with a huge margin, polling 6,61,639 or 56.33 per cent of the votes. The bypoll was necessitated after Srihari, who was inducted into the state cabinet by KCR, resigned and the seat fell vacant.
Candidate Pasunuri Dayakar is a fine arts graduate. Associated with the party since 2001, Dayakar has worked all these years in Warangal. “The fact that I am very local to Warangal probably worked in my favour. I worked as the party’s Warangal general secretary till 2013 and after that as state secretary,” Dayakar said.
Crowds did throng YSR Congress Party president Y S Jagan Mohan Reddy’s campaign and roadshow Monday. The YSRCP has nominated Nalla Suryaprakash, a prominent Dalit leader and activist who has worked among the community for many years. “I am reminding people of the welfare schemes introduced by late CM Y S Rajasekhara Reddy,” Suryaprakash said. “People were happy with those schemes but those days are gone now. My campaign will be based on social welfare schemes that I will, if elected, ensure are implemented properly.”
The BJP-TDP has nominated US-returned doctor P Devaiah, originally from Warangal district, who did his MBBS from Osmania Medical College. The BJP’s Telangana president G Kishan Reddy said Devaiah is an ideal candidate for Warangal. “The TRS government has failed to deliver on its poll promises and that will be our plank besides the good work being done by the NDA,” he said.