PV, caste, money, religion creep into MLC elections

Statde BJP president Bandi Sanjay Kumar campaigning for the MLC elections in Hyderabad on Sunday.  

The political atmosphere in Telangana is getting shriller by the day while the tempers are rising along with the mercury levels, and for outsiders, it throws up a picture of the State going to Assembly polls and not the two Graduate MLC constituencies with about 12 lakh voters.

Caste, money, religion and former Prime Minister P.V. Narasimha Rao have creeped into the highly divisive election campaign. An otherwise more of an apolitical contest has taken total political hue this time with allegations and charges against the Central and State governments by the opposition parties.

The core issues related to this election where graduates, intellectuals, professionals, teachers, employees and employment, which otherwise were to hog the limelight, are dominated by the allegations and counter-allegations on a daily basis by the ruling Telagnana Rashtra Samiti (TRS), Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), Congress and the Independents.

The late Prime Minister P.V. Narasimha Rao is quite surprisingly the focus of the election campaign with the TRS trying to capture his legacy while the BJP too, talks high of this Telangana’s son trying to own him as well. The Congress, to which PV belonged to, looks convincingly hapless unable to own him. No Congress poster carries his picture while he occupies a prime place in TRS posters.

The selection of PV’s daughter S. Vani Devi as the TRS candidate itself is seen as a shrewd political move by TRS chief K. Chandrasekhar Rao to counter the sitting MLC and BJP candidate N. Ramchander Rao, who also belongs to the same social group. G. Chinna Reddy is the Congress candidate while Prof. Nageshwar is supported by the Left parties.

No wonder, a new trend that emerged is seeking the support of caste and religious groups and associations that have little to do with these elections. Ministers and MLAs are busy organising caste group meetings and so are leaders of opposition parties, and none is secretive about it.

Money factor too, has slowly emerged in the campaign scene and is expected to play a big role in the elections as well. The TRS with strong financial muscle is at an advantage and so is the BJP that rules the Central government. Candidates from Congress and other Independents are obviously struggling, according to the contestants.

The ‘unfulfilled promises’ of both the Central and State governments have been converted into real election issues. TRS working president K.T. Rama Rao’s entire focus is on attacking the BJP-led Central government. The rising fuel and cooking gas prices have come in handy for him to criticise the BJP and so are the denial of projects like ITIR, and Railway Wagon factory promised in the Bifurcation Act. Expose the BJP is what he has been asking his party MLAs and cadre.

On the other hand, the BJP’s primary strategy is on exploiting the anger among student groups and youngsters, who had high hopes on TRS on recruitment in the government and generating employment opportunities. Despite the TRS releasing job statistics with specific numbers in each department, the perception is otherwise. Both the BJP and the Congress are targeting the government specifically on this.

Winning the two seats are a matter of prestige for the TRS and BJP, that hold one seat each now. If TRS candidate Palla Rajeshwar Reddy is able to retain the Warangal-Khammam-Nalgonda seat, it will be seen as a good omen for the Nagarjunasagar by-election coming up in Nalgonda district. But if TJS chief M. Kodandaram or BJP candidate Premender Reddy grabs it, the morale of TRS will be certainly hit. Former MLC Ramulu Naik is the Congress candidate here.

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Printable version | Apr 21, 2021 11:45:49 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Hyderabad/pv-caste-money-religion-creep-into-mlc-elections/article34014814.ece

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