Campaigning for the April 11 Lok Sabha elections in Telangana ended Tuesday, with the buoyant ruling TRS hoping to sweep the polls in alliance with AIMIM.
The TRS (Telangana Rashtra Samiti) headed by Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao KCR as he is popularly known — is brimming with confidence after its massive victory in the Assembly elections four months ago.
All eyes will also be on Nizamabad constituency, where more than 170 farmers are in the fray to highlight their problems.
Rao’s daughter K Kavitha is seeking re-election from this segment.
Besides her, prominent candidates include senior Congress leader Renuka Chowdary (Khammam) and Telangana Pradesh Congress Committee President Uttam Kumar Reddy (Nalgonda) and TPCC Working Presidents A Revanth Reddy (Malkajgiri) and Ponnam Prabhakar (Karimnagar).
Telangana has 17 Lok Sabha constituencies. TRS leaders have repeatedly said their aim is to bag 16 seats, leaving one for AIMIM President Asaduddin Owaisi, who is seeking to win for the fourth time from Hyderabad.
The TRS swept the December 7 2018 Assembly elections, bagging 88 seats in the 119-member House, while the Congress won 19. The BJP won only one seat and the Amit Shah-led party,in fact, forfeited deposits in more than 100 Assembly segments.
Compounding the problems for the Congress, 10 of its MLAs announced their decision to join TRS last month.
In the 2014 Lok Sabha elections, the TRS bagged 11 seats, and the Congress, two.
The BJP, TDP, YSRCP and AIMIM shared one each.
The TDP, YSRCP and one Congress Lok Sabha member later joined the TRS.
Campaigning for the Lok Sabha elections appeared low key compared to the high pitched one seen in the Assembly polls in December.
The Election Commission has made additional arrangements for the smooth conduct of polls in Nizamabad, where a total of 185 candidates are in the fray.
The large number of turmeric and red sorghum farmers in the fray are protesting lack of remunerative prices for their produce.
The turmeric farmers are demanding setting up of a national turmeric board in Nizamabad.
KCR and his son and party working President K T Rama Rao campaigned vigorously, constantly attacking BJP and Congress, saying these two national parties failed to deliver when in power and the time has come for regional parties to take centre stage.
Among national leaders, Prime Minister Narendra Modi, BJP chief Amit Shah, Congress chief Rahul Gandhi, Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath and BSP supremo Mayawati canvassed for their respective parties.
KCR said that if TRS won 16 seats, the party would play a key role in national politics.
He predicted that none of the national parties-BJP or Congress, would get a majority on its own to form the Government at the Centre.
Highlighting the ‘family rule’ by KCR, Modi warned that TRSs association with the Asaduddin Owaisi-led AIMIM party would mean a ‘speed-breaker’ for Telanganas development.
Owaisi canvassed for TRS candidates at some places. KCR earlier termed AIMIM as TRS friendly party.
Rahul Gandhi, during his campaigns, alleged that both BJP and TRS have a tacit understanding and hence a vote for TRS would be like casting a vote for the BJP.
Over 2.97 crore voters, including 1504 transgenders, are eligible to exercise their franchise in Telangana, which has a total of 34,604 polling stations.
Additional DG ( Law and order) Jitender said special arrangements have been made for Nizamabad, where there are an unusuallly large number of candiates in the fray, with additional deployment of four companies of central forces in the constituency.
As many as 145 companies of central paramilitary forces and 9,000 police personnel from other states have been deployed, besides over 55,000 state police personnel for security arrangement, Jitender said.