Staff Reporter

Except for a wave or salute, Congress candidate from L.B. Nagar Sudhir Reddy rarely stops to speak to voters

HYDERABAD: Flags fluttered, throats cracked and drumbeats pierced the weekend languor on Sunday at Dilsukhnagar. High-pitch sloganeering livened up the area, and balconies and verandas were soon filled with women and children wishing to catch a glimpse of the spectacle.

Waving and bowing to them from atop the campaign vehicle was Congress party’s MLA candidate D. Sudhir Reddy -- an early bird in electioneering.

Early start

This ex-chairman of HUDA is probably the first to begin campaigning in L.B.Nagar, the newly carved-out constituency with over 3.8 lakh voters. Even as the other parties are busy finalising the names, Mr. Reddy already began chasing his dream in the lanes and by-lanes of the constituency. Campaign charts have been drawn up till April 8 and key areas such as Vanasthalipuram and Hayathnagar have already been covered. Starting from home at 7 a.m. daily, Mr. Reddy continues to campaign till midnight, taking only a two-hour break in between.

Sunday morning was earmarked for colonies such as Bhavani Nagar, Durga Nagar, Dwarakapuri Colony and Vikas Nagar. In the evening, he addressed a meeting of colony welfare associations.

One cannot expect surprises in his visits. Apparently uncomfortable about barging into homes, the suave leader sticks to the schedule and is led by the local cadre in choosing the route and stops. Visiting the party offices in each locality is more or less a must.

Though termed as ‘padayatra’, much of his journey is from an open-top vehicle painted and decked up in Congress tricolour. Interaction with people happens mostly in slums. Followers do their bit by sticking posters and distributing pamphlets. Whoever expects a word or two apart from waves and salutes would be in for disappointment. Perpetually surrounded by the cacophony of the cadre, Mr. Reddy rarely stops to speak.

‘No time’

“Time does not permit ‘anna’ to address the public. There are so many areas to be covered, and stopping at selective locations will generate competition among local leaders,” an aide shares.

However, a person is engaged to constantly speak into the mike, praise the government schemes, denounce other parties, eulogise the Chief Minister, and all the same, introduce the candidate. When the vehicle crosses a hospital, Arogyasri is to be praised, and when it is a group of women, ‘Pavala Vaddi’ will be evoked.

It was a moment of amusement when the vehicle stopped for a while in front of TDP office and the hired voice began praising the Chief Minister for taking forward NTR’s schemes and deprecated Opposition leader N. Chandrababu Naidu.