An interesting contest is on the cards in the Mahabubnagar Lok Sabha segment what with two major contenders in the fray banking on their experience and poll management strategies while the third is heavily relying on the Telangana sentiment.
Although Krishna river flows through a major part of the constituency, signs of backwardness are visible throughout the constituency with several Assembly segments under its purview known for extensive migration of labour every year. Union Minister S. Jaipal Reddy will take on BJP’s Nagam Janardhan Reddy in a contest that will feature another former MP A.P. Jitender Reddy, representing the TRS.
While Mr. Jaipal Reddy is reportedly betting big on his personal image, the BJP is hopeful of concluding an alliance with the TDP. The TRS nominee is banking on the Telangana sentiment and the party’s struggle for realising separate Statehood will ensure his victory in the polls.
Interestingly, all the three are non-locals as far as the Mahabubnagar Lok Sabha seat is concerned, though they belong to the same district. Mr. Jaipal Reddy hails from Kalwakurthy, Dr. Janardhan Reddy (Nagarkurnool) and Mr. Jitender Reddy (Alampur). The Telangana sentiment exists, but confined to few pockets and it is not likely to be a major factor in deciding the fate of the candidates, TDP leaders say.
They substantiate their claim citing the election of TRS president K. Chandrasekhar Rao in 2009 polls with a comparatively low margin in spite of backing by the TDP. In what could be a set back to the TRS nominee, at least two Assembly segments Kodangal and Narayanpet have influence of neighbouring Karnataka while two other segments Deverakadra and Makthal have significant presence of settlers.
Mr. Jaipal Reddy, who represented the constituency in the past, is relatively better placed in the district as he is said to have maintained his base among the second rung leaders and senior partymen. “The leaders will stand united when it comes to Mr. Jaipal Reddy’s election. He has no detractors in the district,” Shadnagar Congress MLA C. Pratap Reddy said.
Mr. Reddy is faced with a peculiar situation as regards minority community votes that will decide the fate of the candidates in Mahabubnagar Assembly segment and influence the outcome in Makthal, Narayanpet and Devarakadra segments. The minority leaders are seeking nomination of a Muslim candidate from the Mahabubnagar Assembly with District Congress Committee president Obaidullah Kotwal and Syed Ibrahim who recently migrated from the TRS being the main contenders.
The BJP leaders are confident that the split in the minority vote could work to their advantage and the party’s alliance with the TDP will further bolster its prospects. The TDP currently has sitting MLAs in Kodangal, Jadcherla, Makthal and Devarakadra while the BJP’s Y. Srinivas Reddy holds the Mahabubnagar segment. Though the TDP held the Narayanpet segment till recently, its MLA Yella Reddy has switched loyalties to the TRS a few days ago.
Mr. Srinivas Reddy said the TDP-BJP alliance will be a key determinant in the forthcoming elections as the district had been a TDP stronghold since its inception and the BJP made significant inroads in Makthal, Narayanpet, Mahabubunagar and Shadnagar segments in the past few months.