KCR dominates as Rosaiah and Naidu keep off

The campaign for byelections to the 12 Assembly constituencies in Telangana, scheduled to be held on July 27, ended on Sunday dominated by the issue of statehood for Telangana.

The bypoll was necessitated by the resignation of 10 Telangana Rashtra Samiti (TRS) legislators and one each of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)and the Telugu Desam Party (TDP). The TRS and the BJP re-nominated all the candidates who resigned, while TDP legislator Ch. Ramesh, who had switched his loyalties to the TRS, is in the fray from Vemulawada.

Separate Telangana was the focus of the campaign, as the TDP agitation over construction of Babli and other projects across the Godavari by Maharashtra apparently did not cut much ice with the electors. Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister K. Rosaiah and Opposition leader N. Chandrababu Naidu were conspicuously absent in the electioneering, deputing second rung leaders.

Ministers D. Sridhar Babu, Sabita Indra Reddy, Danam Nagender and K. Venkat Reddy led the Congress campaign, while APCC president D. Srinivas confined himself to the Nizamabad urban constituency from where he is fighting a prestigious battle against Y. Lakshminarayana (BJP). A majority of senior TDP leaders too could not participate in the electioneering as they were engrossed in the agitation. As a result, the Congress and the TDP candidates had to fend for themselves, while the TRS and BJP nominees received support from party president K. Chandrasekhar Rao, MP Vijayashanti, senior BJP leaders as well as a group of NRIs.

Complaints galore

Cashing in on the absence of senior leaders from the two major parties, Mr. Chandrasekhar Rao took up a vigorous campaign to convince voters that drubbing of the Congress candidates would “send a decisive message to the Congress leadership” which was wavering on the statehood issue.

A significant feature of the campaign was the complaints lodged by political parties against their rivals for “violation of model code in luring voters in the name of caste.”