Staff Reporter

Contestants tour villages, organise padayatras

KARIMNAGAR: With the filing of nomination papers for the Karimnagar Lok Sabha byelection coming to a close, the contestants have intensified their campaign by touring villages and organising padayatras to meet the voters at their doorstep.

Senior Congress leaders and Ministers, including M. Satyanarayana Rao, Md. Fariduddin, G. Vinod, Ponnala Laxmaiah, Redya Naik, Shabbir Ali, Sabitha Indra Reddy and J. Geeta Reddy are busy seeking support for their party candidate T. Jeevan Reddy in the Assembly segments allotted to them.

The Congress is banking upon its record of development of the district during the past two-and-a-half years. The Congress leaders are highlighting the execution of the pending irrigation projects of SRSP flood flow canal, Yellampalli and lifting of Godavari waters to Upper Manair Dam as among their major achievements. As the issue of printing the `skull and crossbones' mark on beedi packets has become an election issue, the Ministers are at pains to countering the Opposition's allegations that the Government was undermining the interests of beedi workers.

Campaign van

Town Congress president Akarapu Bhaskar Reddy prepared a `prachara abhivrudhi ratham' (campaign van) displaying the Congress Government's achievements. He has even installed a water fountain atop the van to symbolise the `Jalayagnam' programme.

This van is touring the constituency along with a cultural troupe.

Talking to The Hindu recently, Minister for Sports M. Satyanarayana Rao, who campaigned in Manakondur mandal on Saturday, said, "there is no Telangana sentiment in this elections and people are asking only for development."

TRS legislators T. Harish Rao, Etala Rajender and V. Lakshmikantha Rao along with D. Ravindra Naik, MP, are organising meetings at different villages. The TRS has also decided to launch `Telangana dhoom-dham' programmes in all mandals of the constituency.

TDP leaders are seeking to cash in on the beedi packets issue and exposing the Congress and the TRS leaders for neglecting the district. It is also campaigning against the Government's failure to stop the Babli project in Maharashtra, which is detrimental in the interests of Telangana farmers.

The BJP plans to rope in national leaders for electioneering in the district.