Station Ghanpur Assembly constituency is witnessing a tough fight between the Telugu Desam Party and the Telangana Rashtra Samiti, notwithstanding the desperate efforts by Congress to win the seat.
Congress MLA T. Rajaiah's resignation necessitated the by-election and he is now the candidate for the TRS.
The Telugu Desam Party has fielded senior leader Kadiam Srihari, who won three times earlier from this constituency reserved for Scheduled Castes.
Mr. Srihari, a Minister for nine years, was successful in 1994, 1999 and in the 2008 by-election.
The Telugu Desam Party still has loyal cadre and strong organisational network but what is to be seen is the extent to which the strong separate Telangana sentiment will swing the mood of people away from it.
The Congress candidate is a senior party worker R. Pratap who is contesting the election for the first time and is considered a lightweight compared to his main rivals. Minister Ponnala Lakshmaiah and District Congress Committee president G.V. Ramana Reddy who have been touring the constituency extensively are highlighting the motives of Mr. Rajaiah in resigning from the party. “He has resigned for his political career and not for separate Telangana. This election will not have any impact on the Telangana issue but if people vote for the Congress, the party will strive to give separate Telangana,” Mr. Lakshmaiah said during the campaign.
The Telugu Desam Party is focussing on development plank while trying to show Mr. Rajaiah in poor light accusing him of resorting to corruption.
The TDP leaders are listing out development works taken up during Mr. Srihari's tenure. These include road works, overhead water tanks and upgrading of infrastructure at schools.
Though people seem to agree with TDP's claims, particularly the “visible development”, TRS leaders like T. Harish Rao appear to be successful in arousing the separate Telangana sentiment. While admitting that their party candidate was weak, the TRS leaders exude confidence that they would win the seat on the plank of separate State. In their campaign, they are appealing to the people not to see the candidate but the noble cause that is separate Telangana while voting in the by-election.
Though the TRS claims that it will win with a big majority, the TDP is all set to give it a tough fight.