Fierce campaign ends for Nagarjunasagar byelection

Hundreds of SUVs and khadi-clad non-local leaders made their way out of Nagarjunasagar Assembly constituency as campaign bells for the bypoll fell silent on Thursday. The bypoll, necessitated by the death of sitting TRS legislator Nomula Narismhaiah, will be held on April 17, with a total 41 candidates in the fray.

The constituency, comprising seven mandals — Gurrampode, Tirumalagirisagar, Peddavoora, Nidamanuru, Madgulapalli, Tripuraram and Anumula — has an electorate of 2,19,745 voters, of which 1,10,838 are women voters. The polling on Saturday will be held through 346 polling stations.

The candidates

Congress’ seven-time legislator K. Jana Reddy’s candidature was the first to be finalised in early March. The BJP gave the ticket to a local tribal Ravi Kumar Naik, keeping aside its earlier candidate here, who had already filed the nomination without the party’s approval. Although permutation and combination was rife in picking the TRS candidate, its president and Chief Minister K. Chandrasekhar Rao gave the Form-B to Nomula Bhagat, son of deceased sitting legislator Narsimhaiah, a day before the closing of nominations.

But the TRS already had an edge with KCR announcing a degree college for Haliya, and had also visited to lay foundation stones for lift irrigation schemes for decades-old unirrigable lands in the ayacut, just before the poll schedule was announced. And like clockwork, legislator in-charges for the seven mandals and their teams reviewed statuses down up to habitation-level, conducted meets and reworked strategies on a daily basis. Ministers Mohammed Mahmood Ali, Talasani Srinivas Yadav, Srinivas Goud, Jagadish Reddy, Dayakar Rao, who almost made the constituency their home, were in the field in the scorching heat. A home and stronghold for Jana Reddy, facing up to the election juggernaut TRS was not easy, but soon the Congress bandwagon joined. His two sons Raghuveer Reddy and Jaiveer Reddy, working with TPCC chief N. Uttam Kumar Reddy, organised daily campaigns. Senior leaders A. Revanth Reddy, Komatireddy Venkat Reddy, Jeevan Reddy and others did the microphone and legwork.

For the BJP, Ravikumar Naik was sure in striking the chord with tribals who number about 52,000 in the constituency. Its leader and MoS (Home) G. Kishan Reddy was here for just a two-day schedule, and its State leaders Bandi Sanjay, D.K. Aruna, Jitender Reddy, Vijayashanti, Raghunandan Rao and others furthered the campaign.

In all the campaigns, before the schedule and during, development was the watchword. TRS leaders stuck to “zero development by Jana Reddy in 35 years for Nagarjunasagar”. On the other, Jana Reddy addressed a public meet, cited reports and figures to explain what he and the Congress party did for the country, the State and the constituency. He also gave his slogan ‘save democracy’ and appealed to all contestants for a no-campaign challenge.

Dog was a popular animal in the month-long campaign. It was on February 10, Mr. Chandrasekhar Rao addressing the ‘Thanksgiving meet’ addressed a group of protesters, “Dogs like you…” And soon the Opposition identified the group as tribals protesting for resolution of Podu lands issue. On April 13 too, Energy Minister Jagadish Reddy called out a youth who asked about notifications and unemployment allowance, “Many dogs like you.. We will trample you.” The context in both the situations created furore.

But KCR’s second visit to Haliya, harping on development in the seven-year TRS government, brought more promises to the constituents – local leaders, Muslims, tribals, sheep-rearing Yadavs, farmers and students.

And surprising everyone, despite the rough patch, the TRS did not fail to garner support from various quarters.

The CPI(M)-CPI Left combine offered support to TRS, reportedly rejecting Congress’ request, and said its cadres would vote for car symbol. Backward Classes Welfare Association national president R. Krishnaiah also extended support and requested all BCs and the unions to vote for TRS candidate.

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Printable version | May 18, 2021 2:35:10 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Hyderabad/fierce-campaign-ends-for-nagarjunasagar-byelection/article34329882.ece

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