Political heat continues in Telangana with Graduate MLC election coming up 

May 27 bypoll necessitated after BRS MLA Palla Rajeshwar Reddy resigned as MLC; to be a test for the ruling Congress party to prove its following among the educated section

Published - May 17, 2024 12:11 am IST - Hyderabad

Political heat in Telangana continues to be high even after the conclusion of voting for Parliament elections as the stakes are high for the Graduate Member of Legislative Council (MLC) for the Warangal-Khammam-Nalgonda constituency.

The bypoll to be held on May 27 will be a test for the ruling Congress party to prove its following among the educated section while the Bharat Rashtra Samiti (BRS) is keen on retaining the seat that it held till recently. The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), which claims to have a huge following among the educated voters, will also have to prove its strength.

The bypoll was necessitated after BRS MLA Palla Rajeshwar Reddy resigned as MLC after he won from the Jangaon constituency in the recent Assembly elections. He had won the seat two years ago amid allegations of extensive money distribution to educated voters. The BRS was eager to defeat Telangana Jana Samiti (TJS) president M. Kodandaram and Chintapandu Naveen, also known as Teenmaar Mallanna. Both were known to be strong critics of the then Chief Minister K. Chandrasekhar Rao.

This time, the Congress has fielded Mallanna and the BRS has nominated Rakesh Reddy, who defected to the BRS just before the Assembly elections last December after he was denied MLA ticket by the BJP in Warangal. Senior leader Premender Reddy is the nominee of the BJP and the contest is likely to be three-cornered. The graduates constituency has 4.61 lakh voters of which 2.87 lakh are men.

The Congress that rode to power riding on the emotions of the youth and the unemployed in the last Assembly elections would like to bag the seat to claim their continuous support to the party. It also used the caste combination well by picking up Mallanna, who belongs to Backward Classes (Munnuru Kapur community). With the Congress in power, it would be an added advantage to him with the Chief Minister and the Ministers putting in their might to ensure the party’s win. Moreover, the party has 33 out of the 34 MLAs in these three districts. Mallanna who contested as an independent candidate in 2021 came second and carries some sympathy as well.

The BRS is in the fray with the slogan to elect a well-educated Rakesh Reddy, who completed his higher studies in the U.S. and worked with the BJP till the last elections. He is a familiar face on television and has worked his way up in the BJP with his articulated thoughts. However, he quit the party when he was denied and MLA ticket and joined the BRS.

BRS working president K T. Rama Rao is harping on sending a highly educated candidate to the Council rather than a ‘blackmailer’, a term he used for Mallanna, who runs a YouTube channel that is highly critical of the BRS. In fact, Mallanna was arrested for his derogatory posts and comments against Mr. Chandrasekhar Rao during the BRS regime.

The BJP has nominated party general secretary Gujjula Premender Reddy and hopes to play on the Narendra Modi charisma to win over the youth even though it is organisationally quite weak in these three districts.

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