Hyderabad: Telangana Rashtra Samiti appears to be in a strong position to retain all 10 of the 12 seats in Telangana region of Andhra Pradesh where bypolls will be held on Tuesday.
The `Telangana sentiment` continues to give an edge to TRS while the Congress` development mantra, coupled with the claim that it alone could ultimately deliver statehood for the region appears to have not cut any ice with the electorate.
The agitation on the Babhli barrage issue has done little to improve the prospects of principal opposition Telugu Desam Party. The ruling Congress and the TRS have a 50-50
chance in the remaining two segments.
Since more than 64 candidates are in fray, ballot papers are being used in five Assembly segments of Yellareddy, Korutla, Siricilla, Huzurabad and Warangal West. Electronic
Voting Machines will be used in the remaining seven segments.
In all 435 candidates are in the fray in all the 12 segments. Counting of votes will take place on 30th.
All eyes, however, are on the Nizamabad Urban Assembly segment where Andhra Pradesh Congress Committee president Dharmapuri Srinivas, who tasted a bitter defeat in the 2009 general elections, is desperately seeking a win over his Bharatiya Janata Party rival Y Lakshminarayana.
"I will get to occupy the highest position in the state politics if elected as an MLA. Also, I will get your dream of a separate Telangana state come true if elected," Srinivas has been repeatedly claiming during his campaign.
Rama Rao scraped through a multi-cornered contest in 2009 by a margin of 171 votes. It was a TRS rebel candidate KK Mahender Reddy who gave Rama Rao a run for his money.
Now, Mahender is the Congress candidate in Siricilla but the political scene has undergone a lot of change in the last one year. Rama Rao, a rank "outsider" in Siricilla in
2009, built his base since his election for the first time as an MLA, edging out Mahender Reddy.
The Telangana sentiment is the main plank on which the TRS nominee is seeking re-election this time.
KCR`s nephew T Harish Rao, however, faces no real contest in the Siddipet constituency. HE won the 2009 general election with a margin of 64,677.
While the TDP can hope to secure the second place, with actor Babu Mohan in the fray, the Congress, which had to forego its deposit in the last two elections, is only hoping
that it will be not be repeated.
The Congress fielded three former ministers Md Ali Shabbir, G Vinod and J Ratnakar Rao from Yellareddy, Chennur (SC) and Korutla constituencies.
All of them having been seeking votes claiming they would get back into the state Cabinet, if elected, and develop the respective constituencies.
All three, however, are facing rough weather in these segments like in 2009 when they were trounced comprehensively.
Former MP Indrakaran Reddy of Congress is giving a semblance of fight to his TRS rival Kaveti Sammaiah in Sirpur constituency. But the internal wrangling in the Congress may mar his prospects.
Other aspirants for Sirpur seat like Koneru Konappa and Premsagar Rao are said to be working against Indrakaran.
However, Indrakaran succeeded to win over Konappa and secure his support but Premsagar Rao is said to have not fallen in line.
Indrakaran also has been claiming that he would become a minister if elected to the Assembly.
In Warangal West Assembly constituency as well, the Congress is locked in an intense fight with the TRS. Congress K Dayasagar Rao has a strong base in the segment and the
sympathy that he lost the 2009 polls.
TRS` D Vinay Bhaskar, who won with a margin of over 6,600 votes against Dayasagar last time, is banking on the Telangana sentiment.
The fight for Huzurabad seat in Karimnagar district looks interesting with three main candidates E Rajender (TRS), M Damodar Reddy (TDP) and V Krishnamohan Rao (Congress) in the fray.
Apart from the sentiment factor, his good relations with the local people should stand Rajender in good stead.
The TDP`s strong cadre base in Huzurabad should help Damodar Reddy put up a good fight.
The Congress has deployed senior leaders like Karimnagar MP Ponnam Prabhakar and Chief Whip Mallu Bhatti Vikramarka to ensure Krishnamohan Rao`s success.
The Vemulawada seat in Karimnagar district was won by Chennamaneni Ramesh of TDP in 2009.
Ramesh, however, switched sides to the TRS after he quit the Assembly in February this year on the statehood issue.
The large chunk of voters belonging to his Velama community and the support of BJP will be the additional advantage working in Ramesh’s favour apart from the Telangana
sentiment and the sympathy over his resignation.
Ramesh is the nephew of former Union Minister Vidyasagar Rao of BJP. In Dharmapuri and Mancherial too the TRS may find the going smooth though the TDP is giving some
fight in Mancherial.