There are no heavy rains yet Huzurabad is witnessing inundation albeit that of political leaders!
Though the schedule for the byelection to the Huzurabad Assembly seat, which fell vacant with Eatala Rajender resigning as MLA, the area is flooded with visits of leaders from TRS and BJP leaders. A void of sorts got created in Congress with its candidate in previous Assembly elections P. Kaushik Reddy joining the ruling TRS.
There is likely to be further heavy rain of political leaders’ visits in all villages of the six mandals in the constituency in coming days once the Congress narrows down on its candidate for the bypoll. Already, TRS and BJP are deeply into moves and countermoves to checkmate their rivals.
One-upmanship and consolidation of caste groups is in full display in the constituency going by the developments over the last fortnight. It all began with filing of cases and ouster of Eatala Rajender as a minister from the Cabinet, his subsequent move to resign his MLA seat and cross to the BJP before launching a full-fledged campaign through padayatra.
Kaushik Reddy quitting Congress in the backdrop of an audio leak (in which he claimed he would be TRS official nominee for bypoll) and joining the TRS spiced up the political scenario in the constituency. It is surely a big gain for Kaushik Reddy to have secured MLC post in Governor’s quota with TRS supremo KCR’s blessings within days of joining the ruling party.
Switching of loyalties by leaders ahead of elections has forced leaderships of parties to redraw their strategies to retain their loyalists as the key to winning is held by BC and SC voters. Of the more than 2.05 lakh electorate, BCs constitute roughly 50% while SCs comprise nearly 40,000 and OCs close to 41000.With Mr. Rajender hailing from Mudiraj, a BC community, the TRS leadership after initial inclination to field a Reddy has now come to the conclusion that fielding a BC candidate would be appropriate for taking on the former minister on his home turf.
TRS sources said following the resignation of Mr. Rajender, the party scoured for a strong candidate from Reddy community to pit against him.
Mr. Kaushik Reddy would have been an automatic choice had it not been for the audio leak episode. Also, by picking up a BC candidate, it could neutralise Mr. Rajender’s bid to play the BC card. Party sources said although a novice, Gellu Srinivasa Yadav of TRS Students wing is the strong contender for the ticket.
The TRS is keen on consolidating the BC votes and the latest announcement of Dalit Bandhu scheme is only expected to further boost party chances.
Entry of former TDP State chief L.Ramana and former minister E. Peddi Reddy may benefit the TRS to some extent. BJP leadership is confident that Mr. Rajender is still the frontrunner in the runup to the elections. The padayatra was mainly intended to percolate the party’s symbol (lotus) to grassroots as voters might still think Mr. Rajender is a TRS man.The unceremonious exit of Mr. Kaushik Reddy exposed the situation of the Congress in Huzurabad where it has become rudderless. Efforts of the State leaders to convince at least two senior leaders — one a former State minister from the SC community and the other former MP from an influential BC — have come to a nought. Both refused to enter the fray and openly told the leadership that they did not want another defeat to be added to their account. If Congress sources are to be believed, one leader said he would quit the party, if he was forced to contest.