It will be a straight contest between the Congress and the Telangana Rashtra Samithi in the Nagarkurnool Lok Sabha segment of Mahabubnagar.
The Congress has sounded its veteran leader Nandi Yellaiah as its candidate from the SC reserved seat while the Telugu Desam Party has named Bakkani Narsimhulu as its candidate from the seat to take on the incumbent Manda Jagannadham who is eyeing a fourth consecutive victory. Mr. Yellaiah, a veteran leader of the Congress, is expected to offer stiff contest splitting the Dalit vote, prominently Madiga community votes, the prospects of Mr. Narsimhulu, a former MLA, remain to be seen.
The selection of Mr. Narsimhulu for the constituency has taken many by surprise given TDP president N. Chandrababu Naidu’s keenness on assessing the winnability of the candidates before announcing their names. Mr. Narsimhulu’s name was announced days after Mr. Naidu told this newspaper that there was no dearth of candidates for the TDP and the party was on the lookout for “bright candidates”.
Mr. Narsimhulu’s candidature has now raised questions on whether the party was indeed confident of giving Dr. Jagannadham a run for his money. Dr. Jagannadham won from the constituency on a TDP ticket for the first time in 1999 and repeated the feat in the next election too.
He joined the Congress in 2008 after the UPA coalition survived the no confidence motion and won on behalf of the ruling party in 2009. He subsequently shifted loyalty to the TRS at the peak of the movement and has been selected as the party’s nominee for the forthcoming election too. Given the kind of polarisation of caste/community vote that Dr. Jagannadham could, by and large, achieve in the constituency, other major parties are finding it difficult to pit an appropriate candidate against him.
Nagarkurnool Lok Sabha seat, reserved for the Scheduled Castes, is set to witness an interesting, if not keen, contest as the election is not confined to a particular issue or sentiment. Migration of labour which continues to be on the higher side, absence of water for drinking and irrigation purposes, increasing number of villages with fluoride content in groundwater and several other considerations including caste has to be factored in for obtaining a macroscopic picture of the constituency.
The constituency has Gadwal, Wanaparthy and Kollapur Assembly segments, three erstwhile sansthans or smaller versions of princely States, as also the Alampur segment housing the famous Jogulamba temple under its purview. Two other segments Nagarkurnool, Achampet and Kalwakurthy are no less important as the votes cast in these constituencies are considered to be key to the prospects of the Lok Sabha candidates in the fray.
The TDP which wields considerable influence in the district has, however, suffered setbacks in the past few months with several of its leaders ditching the party and joining the TRS fold. While senior leader Nagam Janardhan Reddy representing the Nagarkurnool Assembly segment has been shifted to Mahabubnagar Lok Sabha, another senior leader G. Jaipal Yadav representing Kalwakurthy has switched loyalty to the TRS recently.
Another senior leader Ravula Chandrasekhar Reddy is the party’s candidate from Wanaparthy segment. But given the tough opposition he is expected to face in the form of former Minister G. Chinna Reddy, doubts are being raised on whether Mr. Reddy could focus his attention on securing support for the TDP nominee from his constituency.
“Dr. Jagannadham will win hands down. There is no doubt about his victory. The question is only about the margin,” Kollapur MLA Jupally Krishna Rao who is seeking election for the fifth consecutive term said.