Though people feel that both the parties deserve the credit for Telangana, they are in dilemma as to which party they should vote for

: As the mercury soars over 40 degrees in this heartland of separate statehood movement, voters in Karimnagar and Peddapalli Parliamentary constituencies are forcing the leaderships of Congress and TRS sweat it out with both the parties clueless on the prevailing mood of the electorate.

Campaign is yet to pick up momentum and the scorching heat is forcing leaders to step out early in the morning and retire to their makeshift camp offices in the afternoon and set out again late in the evening. Barring the daily wagers, who are hired by the parties, campaign braving the hot sun carrying flags and placards, the election mood is missing.

Voters cutting across caste, creed and religion and of different age groups give full credit to the Congress and the TRS for formation of a separate Telangana, but refrain from spelling out their preference for the party they would vote.

“We give credit to TRS for pressuring the Congress to concede Telangana. At the same time, Sonia Gandhi also went out of her way to fulfil our dreams,” Nagu Lingaiah Goud, a cement dealer in the temple town of Vemulawada, says.

Irugu Hanumanthu, a Dalit farm labourer from Pedda Samudrala in Husnabad mandal, says they are in a dilemma as to which party they should vote for. Peraka Rajamallu, a retired headmaster, feels that the two parties deserve the credit but is sceptical whether the TRS would be able to develop Telangana on its own. Among the youth, there is a sense of satisfaction at achieving Telangana.

“Yes, with Telangana becoming a reality, we are assured that no one can snatch our food,” Velpula Raju, a Dalit post-graduate says. Ande Mohan, an Intermediate student, hopes the new State will provide them employment opportunities. “We want decentralised development of Telangana, so that local industries provide us jobs,” P. Santosh, a hair cutting shop owner, points out.

Divided loyalty

Auto drivers Merugu Ram and Peddi Raju feel Congress should get the credit for giving Telangana. “Development is possible only through the Congress,” the duo say at the Vemulawada bus stand. But, worker Linganna Goud differs, saying the TRS should be given a chance in reconstruction of Telangana State. S. Venkat Narsaiah, a general mazdoor in GDK 5th incline, also feels the TRS deserves a chance to develop Telangana.

The battle has narrowed down between the Congress and the TRS with TDP-BJP combine making little or no impact and the YSR Congress Party paying the price for its united AP stand. There is very little impact of Narendra Modi factor here. Barring young weavers like Pantham Mahesh of Sircilla who say they will vote for the BJP, there is nothing much to cheer about for the saffron brigade.

One factor that is going to cause a dent in the fortunes of the parties is the rebel candidates in fray. Choice of candidates is also a reason that could ruin the winning chances of Congress in some constituencies. In Huzurabad, Ramagundam, Vemulawada and Choppadandi, choice of candidates has not gone down well with the Congress cadres. “We are not happy with the selection. The party ignored leaders with winning chances and put up those who have no rapport with the electorate,” laments a TPCC leader from Karimnagar wishing anonymity.

Anti-incumbency factor may mar the chances of Congress and TRS MLAs in Manakondur, Karimnagar, Chennur, Dharmapuri and Ramangundam. The Congress-CPI alliance is on the rocks in Bellampally segment in Adilabad where CPI’s Gunda Mallesh is pitted against a Congress rebel.

In Karimnagar Lok Sabha, it is going to be a triangular fight between Ponnam Prabhakar (Congress), B. Vinod Kumar (TRS) and Ch. Vidyasagar Rao (BJP). Mr. Prabhakar is banking on his good work as MP, while Mr. Vinod hopes to ride on the separate Telangana reality. Mr. Vidyasagar is hopeful that Namo factor may translate into votes.