Telangana set for intense three-cornered fight in May 13 polls


by IANS | Sat, May 11, 2024, 11:53 AM

Hyderabad, May 11 (IANS) Telangana is heading for an intense three-cornered fight in the majority of the 17 Lok Sabha seats on May 13.

Five months after coming to power in this southern state, the Congress is facing a stiff challenge from the BRS and the BJP.

Barring 3-4 seats where one party appears to have an edge, it will be a close triangular contest in the remaining constituencies.

While the Congress is looking to repeat its impressive performance of the Assembly elections held in November 2023, the BJP is leaving no stone unturned to put up a good show in Telangana, the second key state for the party in South India after Karnataka.

Despite losing power to the Congress after ruling the state for 10 years and a series of setbacks with several key leaders defecting to the BJP and Congress, the BRS looks strong on the ground.

The party appears to be recovering from its loss, if one goes by the huge crowds during party President and former Chief Minister KC Rao’s bus yatra.

The BJP appears to be sitting pretty in three out of four seats it won in 2019 and is locked in a tight fight with the Congress and BRS in at least four constituencies.

Banking on the Prime Minister Narendra Modi factor, the saffron party has set a target of 10 seats.

PM Modi, Union Home Minister Amit Shah, BJP President JP Nadda and other leaders have campaigned extensively.

The Congress party looks ahead of its rivals in five constituencies and is facing a tough challenge in other constituencies.

The BRS, which lost five of its sitting MPs to the two rivals during the last couple of months, seems to have an edge in a couple of constituencies.

Interestingly, both the Congress and BJP have gained from the exodus of leaders from the BRS during the last few weeks.

A sitting MP, a sitting MLA, daughter of a sitting MLA are among the Lok Sabha contestants for the Congress.

Similarly, the BJP has fielded a sitting MP and son of sitting MP as its candidates after they defected from the BRS.

Former MPs and former state Legislators of BRS also figure in the list of candidates of the Congress and BRS both.

While the BJP retained three of its four sitting MPs, the Congress had to look for new faces as all three MPs who won in 2019 were elected to the Assembly.

A. Revanth Reddy, who was elected from Malkajgiri constituency in the previous election, has become the Chief Minister.

Uttam Kumar Reddy and Komatireddy Venkat Reddy, who were elected from Nalgonda and Bhongir respectively, have become ministers.

The trio is now making all efforts to ensure that the party retains these seats.

There was some high drama in the run-up to nominations. Kadiam Kaviya, who was named as candidate from Warangal Lok Sabha seat by the BRS, withdrew from the contest to join the Congress along with her father and sitting BRS MLA Kadiam Srihari.

Among key contestants, Union Minister and state BJP chief, G Kishan Reddy is seeking re-election from Secunderabad. He is locked in a three-cornered contest involving BRS MLA T Padma Goud and Congress candidate D Nagender.

In the recent Assembly elections, Nagender was elected on a BRS ticket from Khairatabad constituency but he defected to the Congress to secure the MP ticket.

BJP National General Secretary Bandi Sanjay Kumar, who is fighting from Karimnagar for a second-consecutive term, faces a tough contest from BRS candidate Vinod Kumar.

The Congress party has fielded V Rajender Rao. In Mahabubnagar, it will be a repeat of the 2019 battle. The BJP’s National Vice President D K Aruna, who had finished runner-up in the previous election, is again taking on sitting MP Manne Srinivas Reddy of BRS.

Revanth Reddy, who comes from the same district, is making every effort for the victory of Vamshi Chand Reddy. In Malkajgiri, which is India’s biggest constituency, BJP’s Eatala Rajender is locked in a tough fight against Sunitha Reddy of the Congress party and R Lakshma Reddy of BRS.

Like Mahabubnagar, this is also a battle of prestige for CM Revanth Reddy, who is also the state Congress chief.

In Medak, the home district of BRS chief KCR, the party is going all out to retain the seat. It has fielded former bureaucrat Venkatarami Reddy.

Former MLA Raghunandan Rao is the BJP candidate. The Congress, which has fielded Nilam Madhu, is in search of its first win since 1989 in a constituency, which was once represented by late Prime Minister Indira Gandhi.

In Khammam, it is expected to be a direct fight between sitting MP Nama Nageswara Rao of BRS and Congress candidate Ramasahayam Raghuram Reddy.

In Nagarkurnool, former IPS officer RS Praveen Kumar, who quit BSP to join BRS recently, is taking on senior Congress leader Mallu Ravi and BJP candidate P Bharat Prasad, who defected to the saffron party from BRS along with his father and sitting MP P Ramulu.

All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (AIMIM) President Asaduddin Owaisi, who is seeking re-election for fifth-consecutive term from Hyderabad, faces BJP’s Madhavi Latha in what is likely to be a direct flight. The Congress party has fielded Sameer Waliullah from here.

In the 2019 elections, held a few months after BRS retained power in the state with a thumping majority, KCR’s party bagged 9 seats, polling 41.3 per cent votes.

The BJP won four seats with a vote share of 19.5 per cent. This was the saffron party’s best-ever performance in Telangana.

The Congress bagged three seats but polled 30.2 per cent votes. The AIMIM retained the Hyderabad seat.

In Assembly elections held in November 2023, the Congress party dramatically improved its fortunes to wrest power from the BRS, which was ruling the state for the last 10 years.

In the 119-member Assembly, the Congress bagged 64 seats and polled 39.40 per cent votes. The BRS won 39 seats with 37.35 per cent vote share. Congress ally CPI won the only seat it contested with a vote share of 0.34 per cent.

The BJP has almost doubled its vote share compared to 2018. It polled 13.90 per cent votes against just 6.98 per cent in the previous Assembly polls.

The saffron party also significantly improved its tally of seats from one to eight. AIMIM, which retained its seven seats, garnered a vote share of 2.22 per cent, down from 2.71 per cent in 2018.

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