On a warm Saturday morning, Talasani Sai Kiran Yadav, the Telangana Rashtra Samiti (TRS) candidate for Secunderabad parliamentary constituency, walks into a YMCA park and greets walkers, mostly senior citizens. Within minutes, several walkers gather and tell Sai, 32, the youngest MP candidate in Telangana, about their concerns — pollution, the need to protect parks and green spaces and water shortage in the area. Sai is an MBA from Sydney.
Not far away, at Krishnanagar in Jubilee Hills, Congress candidate Anjani Kumar Yadav meets junior and extra artistes in the Telugu film industry who complain about the lack of civic facilities and water shortage in the lanes of Krishnanagar, where a majority of them live. At Khairatabad, BJP candidate G Kishan Reddy says that if elected, he would improve “educational and recreational facilities” in the area.
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Completely urban and mostly middle class, the prestigious Secunderabad Lok Sabha constituency will witness a tight contest between the TRS, Congress and BJP. In 2014, BJP’s Bandaru Dattatreya had won from here but he has been dropped, with Kishan Reddy, former Telangana BJP unit chief, getting the ticket. Kishan Reddy was elected MLA from Amberpet in 2014, but lost the Assembly elections held last December.
“We have a good chance of winning this seat. There is definitely a lot of support for the BJP and Modi, especially after the Balakot airstrike. The middle and upper middle class still favour Modi,’’ Kishan Reddy said.
But unlike in 2014, when a strong pro-Modi wave helped the BJP win this seat in Telangana, the only one the party won that election, there is not much visible support for the BJP.
The Congress’s Anjani Kumar Yadav is a former two-time MP from Secunderabad who won in 2004 and 2009. Yadav has a strong support base among the backward classes in the constituency who had shifted allegiance to the BJP in 2014. Yadav is now campaigning with renewed vigour with the party reposing its faith in him though former cricketer Mohammed Azharuddin was keen on contesting from Secunderabad.
“Dattatreya did not do much work here and people are not happy with the BJP. This time, there is no Modi wave. People are looking for change,’’ Yadav says. His son Anil Yadav is president of the Telangana Youth Congress.
The TRS’s Sai Kiran Yadav is the son of Talasani Srinivas Yadav, a close confidant of Chief Minister K Chandrashekar Rao and Animal Husbandry Minister in the Cabinet. Talasani, who successfully implemented KCR’s scheme of distributing sheep to the Yadava and Kuruma community in the state, is a powerful leader among the BCs. He won as MLA from Sanathnagar in the December Assembly elections.
For now, it’s the TRS that has the upper hand in the Lok Sabha seat because in the December Assembly elections, it won six of the seven Assembly seats under it. The seventh seat, Nampally, was won by the AIMIM, an ally of the TRS. With MIM chief Asaduddin Owasi urging Muslims to vote for the TRS, the party hopes that it will get a majority of the minority votes in Secunderabad area.