Telangana Assembly elections have been a key contest between the ruling Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) and the Congress-led grand alliance called 'Praja kutami'. The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), which has contested on all seats on its own is hoping to play a vital role in government formation in the state.
The 119-member Assembly was dissolved in September, eight months before its term was to end, on the recommendation of the Chandrasekhar Rao-led government paving way for early elections. While KCR's Telangana Rashtra Samiti (TRS) is fighting the polls alone in all seats, Congress is part of the Mahakutumbi with TDP, CPI and TJS.
Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS):
Kalvakuntla Chandrasekhar Rao: The incumbent Chief Minister of Telangana, K Chandrasekhar Rao is contesting from the Gajwel seat in the 2018 assembly elections. He had won the seat in 2014 by defeating Vanteru Pratap Reddy, who is currently with the Congress but had then fought on a Telugu Desam Party ticket. For the 2018 elections, Congress has pitted Vanteru Pratap Reddy against KCR. State Minister and KCR’s nephew Harish Rao has spent a large part of the last three months campaigning for the party chief in Gajwel. Confident of a victory in the state, KCR had called for elections six months before completion of the term of the Assembly.
KT Rama Rao: The caretaker IT and Industries minister and son of party president KCR, KT Rama Rao, is contesting the 2018 elections from Sirsilla. His arch rival and Congress candidate KK Mahender Reddy is contesting against him from the seat. In the 2014 elections, KTR had won from the seat by 53,000 by defeating Congress leader K Ravindar Rao who was his nearest rival. KTR got elected from Sircilla for the first time in 2009 against KK Mahendar Reddy. He also defeated Reddy in the byelections in 2010.
Harish Rao: Caretaker irrigation minister and KCR's nephew T Harish Rao is the party's candidate in Siddipet constituency. The seat was once held by KCR. Harish has a stronghold in the seat where he got elected five times including in bypolls. He won in 2014 with a record majority of over 95,000 votes. Harish is known to be a successful poll strategist of the party. The seat is being keenly watched to see the margin with which if he wins the seat given his popularity in the constituency.
DK Aruna: Dharmavaram Kottam Aruna is Congress legislator from Gadwal constituency in Telangana. She has served as the Minister for Information and Public Relations in the past. She represented the Samajwadi Party in 2004 before moving to the Congress in the 2009 elections. A political heavyweight, she has often been in news for her verbal duel with TRS supremo and CM KCR. Aruna is the daughter of former Congress MLA Chittem Narsi Reddy who was gunned down allegedly by Maoists in 2005. Her family's clout in the region is not just limited to politics but even to businesses in the constituency.
A Revanth Reddy: Telangana Pradesh Congress Committee (TPCC) working president A Revanth Reddy is the party's candidate from Kodangal in Telangana. The 49-year-old is a star campaigner for the Congress in Telangana. Reddy is a close relative of senior Congress leader S Jaipal Reddy. He had the last two assembly elections from Kodangal. He had left tongues wagging after he almost declared himself the party's chief ministerial candidate during a public meeting in the run-up to the elections. As a student, he was a member of the Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad and later joined politics with the TRS. He is said to have worked closely with KCR before he joined Chandrababu Naidu's Telugu Desam Party. The TDP removed him from the party amid reports that he is likely to join Congress. In September 2018, he was made a working president of the TPCC.
Uttam Kumar Reddy: Uttam Kumar Reddy is representing Congress in the Huzurnagar constituency in Telangana. Reddy is the Telangana Pradesh Congress Committee (TPCC) president. He is a former pilot of Indian Air Force and is eyeig to defeat his opponent Saidi Reddy from Telangana Rashtra Samithi. Uttam Reddy had won the previous polls from Huzurnagar seat by a margin of 23,924 votes over his nearest TRS rival Kasoju Sankaramma. He was elected as an MLA for the first time in 1999 on a Congress ticket from Kodad constituency and retained the seat in 2004 elections. Following delimitation of seats, he contested from Huzurnagar in 2009 and won with a thumping majority.
Telugu Desam Party (TDP):
Nama Nageswara Rao: TDP's Nama Nageswara Rao is contesting the 2018 assembly polls from Khammam. The Congress, which is in alliance with the TDP for the polls, tried to get the seat for the party but after several discussions and a long wait, the alliance declared Rao's name from the seat. Rao has been named as a joint candidate with an aim to defeat the TRS. He contested the Assembly elections in 2004 from the Khammam constituency on TDP ticket but had faced defeat in the hands of Renuka Choudhary from Congress party. In 2009, Nama was elected to the Lok Sabha to represent the Khammam by defeating Renuka but lost to Ponguleti Srinivas Reddy in 2014 elections.
Revuri Prakash Reddy: Telugu Desam Party leader Revuri Prakash Reddy was named as the Mahakutami candidate for Warangal West constituency for the 2018 polls. The Congress which has joined hands with the Telangana for the polls was left red-faced after its rebel DCC president Naini Rajender Reddy filed his nomination as an independent candidate from the seat. Revuri claimed that the TDP had never asked for the seat for the TDP as part of the seat-sharing arrangement but the alliance committee had decided to alot the Warangal West to the TDP.
Nandamuri Suhasini: The Telugu Desam Party has named Nandamuri Suhasini as the party's candidate for the Kukatpally assembly seat. Suhasini is Nandamuri Hari Krishna's daughter and NTR's granddaughter. She is also the half-sister of popular Tollywood actor Jr NTR. The Assembly seat was earlier represented by Madhavaram Krishna Rao in 2014, who won on a TDP ticket but later moved to the Telangana Rashtra Samithi. TDP chief expressed hope that people would vote for the TDP in Nandamuri's name and also due to other factors like caste.