Campaigning reaches its peak ahead of May 13 LS polls in Telangana


by IANS | Tue, May 07, 2024, 03:05 PM

Hyderabad, May 7 (IANS) With just five days left before the state's 17 Lok Sabha seats go to the polls on May 13, campaigning in Telangana has reached its peak in what appears to be a three-cornered contest this time.

The top leaders of all three major political parties in the state -- the ruling Congress, the main opposition Bharat Rashtra Samithi (BRS), and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) -- are crisscrossing the state, addressing public meetings, rallies, and holding road shows to woo the electorate.

Amid the sweltering heat, the leaders are making all-out efforts to win the support of the voters with multiple promises.

The candidates are also travelling to the villages in their respective constituencies, conducting door-to-door canvassing.

The Congress is looking to repeat the performance of the Assembly elections held in 2023 when it won 64 of the state's 119 seats to dislodge the BRS led by K. Chandrashekar Rao from power.

The BRS, still reeling under the defeat in the Assembly polls and shaken by the exodus of several key leaders during the last five months, is making every effort to bounce back, while the BJP is confident of improving on its impressive performance in the state polls when it improved its tally to eight from just one in 2018.

The leaders of all three parties are busy hurling allegations and throwing challenges at each other. Interestingly, every party is accusing the other two of having a secret understanding.

While Congress and BRS are targeting BJP for what they call 'spreading hatred in the name of religion', the latter is accusing both the parties of practising appeasement politics.

Highlighting the implementation of some guarantees promised during the Assembly polls, Congress is seeking votes to fulfil the remaining promises. Its leaders are exhorting Telangana voters to contribute maximum seats from the state to help the Congress and the INDIA bloc to form the government at the Centre.

Meanwhile, both BJP and BRS are targeting Congress for 'failing' to implement its guarantees, reminding the party leaders of their promise that all six guarantees will be implemented within 100 days.

Leading the BRS campaign is party President and former Chief Minister K. Chandrasekhar Rao, popular as KCR.

He is undertaking a bus yatra and addressing roadshows every day, drawing large crowds.

KCR’s son and BRS Working President K.T. Rama Rao and nephew and key party leader T. Harish Rao are also addressing public meetings and holding roadshows across constituencies.

The leaders are projecting the BRS as the only party that can safeguard the interests of Telangana.

Like in the previous elections, K.T. Rama Rao’s campaign is focused in and around Hyderabad, covering constituencies like Hyderabad, Secunderabad, Malkajgiri, and Chevella.

It was the BJP that first launched the campaign with Vijay Sankalp Yatras in February, much before the announcement of the election schedule, taking to people the various schemes launched and implemented by the Modi government during the last 10 years.

The BJP has roped in the entire battery of top leadership for the campaign. Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who held a few public meetings even before the announcement of the poll schedule, addressed a rally in Zaheerabad on April 30, and is scheduled to address more election rallies in the state on May 8 and May 10.

Union Home Minister Amit Shah has also visited Telangana a couple of times, addressing roadshows in Hyderabad in support of party candidate Madhavi Latha. He also addressed three public meetings in Adilabad, Nizamabad, and Malkajgiri Lok Sabha constituencies on May 5.

This was followed by BJP President J.P. Nadda’s public meetings on May 6 in Peddapalli and Yadadri Bhuvanagiri. He also held a roadshow in Malkajgiri last week.

Union Ministers Rajnath Singh, Anurag Singh Thakur, Piyush Goel, Kiran Rijiju, Hardeep Singh Puri, S. Jaishankar, and the Chief Ministers of Gujarat, Uttarakhand and Goa also participated in nomination rallies of BJP candidates. Some of them also addressed public meetings and held roadshows.

Tamil Nadu BJP chief Annamalai, Bangalore South BJP MP Tejaswai Surya, and former Telangana Governor Tamilisai Soundararajan were also roped in to campaign for the BJP candidates, while Union Minister and state BJP President G. Kishan Reddy is mainly focusing on the campaign in his constituency Secunderabad.

The BJP leaders are training guns on the Congress and BRS for their alleged corruption and appeasement politics, with Prime Minister Modi accusing the Congress government of collecting ‘RR’ tax in Telangana, alleging that it is sending part of the black money to the Congress leadership in Delhi.

The BJP leaders are also hitting out at Congress over the reservation issue, slamming Chief Minister A. Revanth Reddy for allegedly circulating a doctored video of Amit Shah.

In an apparent attempt at polarisation, the BJP leaders are raking up sensitive issues of Muslim reservation, Ram Temple, and the celebration of Hyderabad Liberation Day.

Revanth Reddy, who is also the President of the Telangana Pradesh Congress Committee (TPCC), is leading the ruling party’s campaign, addressing 3-4 public meetings every day.

Accusing the BJP of not fulfilling the commitments made to Telangana, Revanth Reddy has come up with an innovative way to take a jibe at the BJP over the 'raw deal' metered out to Telangana.

At every public meeting, he displays a replica of ‘Gadidaga Guddu’ (donkey’s egg) to allege that this is what the Modi government has given to Telangana in the past 10 years.

Congress leaders Rahul Gandhi and Priyanka Gandhi have also addressed a couple of meetings each as part of the campaign, and are slated to address a few more meetings in the coming days.

Meanwhile, the delay in announcing candidates by the Congress in constituencies like Khammam and Karimnagar seems to have impacted the party’s campaign.

The campaigning in Hyderabad is different from the other constituencies, as the All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslilmeen (AIMIM) is leaving no stone unturned to continue its domination though the BJP is trying hard to make a dent with aggressive canvassing.

Asaduddin Owaisi, who is seeking re-election for the fifth consecutive term, is leading the AIMIM’s campaign by reaching out to the voters with his daily padayatras.

In 2019, BRS bagged nine seats, BJP captured four seats, Congress won three seats, while the AIMIM retained its lone seat in Hyderabad.

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