Election fever has gripped voters in Adilabad Assembly constituency who seem to be looking forward to the day of the by-election. The issue of separate Telangana and enthusiastic participation of political parties in this election has added colour to the campaign for the by-election that has come within three years of the last election.
The March 18 polls will be the first by-election in this constituency. Except the 1957 election, voter turnout in all the elections was above 65 per cent. After the delimitation of constituencies in 2009, Adilabad was left with only Bela, Jainad and Adilabad (rural and urban) mandals.
The by-election was necessitated by the resignation of TDP MLA Jogu Ramanna, who is now in the fray as Telangana Rashtra Samiti (TRS) candidate.
The by-election will be Mr. Ramanna's third encounter in a row with the Congress veteran C. Ramchandra Reddy.
While the latter won the 2004 election by a 20,000 vote margin, Mr. Ramanna avenged his defeat in 2009 by winning the election by a majority of over 25,000 votes.
Being an ally of the TDP in the last election, the TRS had supported Mr. Ramanna resulting in his polling 62,000 votes -- more than 50 per cent of the total votes cast. The pro-Telangana sentiment does not seem to have waned during the interregnum which places Ramanna in the driver's seat.
The TDP has fielded Payila Shankar, a grass-root level leader and a former protege of the TRS candidate.
He spares no effort in exposing Mr. Ramanna's alleged betrayal of the party by his defection. In his campaign, Mr. Shankar makes a slew of promises for development of the constituency, including safe drinking water to every household in Adilabad town.
The Congress leaders criticise Mr. Ramanna for resigning as MLA and thus placing an unnecessary burden on the exchequer by triggering a by-election. The CPI (M) has fielded a candidate for the first time in this constituency, a move aimed mainly to keep its flock together.
All the parties are focussing their energies on Adilabad mandal that had an electorate of over 1.15 lakh.