After LS polls, Telangana parties now gearing up for key MLC by-poll

National |  IANS  | Published :

While the polling for the Lok Sabha elections in Telangana has ended, the political heat continues as the major political players have intensified their campaign for the by-election of the Member of Legislative Council (MLC) from the Warangal-Khammam-Nalgonda Graduates' constituency.

The candidates of the ruling Congress and opposition Bharat Rashtra Samithi (BRS) and Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) are vying with each other to woo voters for the May 27 by-election.

There are 4.6 lakh voters in the constituency spread over 34 assembly seats in the erstwhile districts of Warangal, Khammam, and Nalgonda. There are 52 candidates in the fray but it will be mainly a triangular contest among the Congress, the BRS, and the BJP.

The vacancy arose after Palla Rajeshwar Reddy of the BRS resigned after he was elected to the Assembly from the Jangaon constituency in the November 2023 Assembly elections.

The BRS, which is making every effort to retain the seat, has fielded A. Rakesh Reddy, who had quit the BJP to join it just before the Assembly elections after he was denied a ticket from the Warangal constituency.

Chintapandu Naveen, also known as Teenmaar Mallanna, who had contested as an independent and finished second in the election for the MLC seat held two years ago, is in the fray this time as the Congress candidate.

The BJP has again fielded its state General Secretary G. Premender Reddy, who secured fourth place in 2021.

The key candidates have intensified their campaigning. They are meeting the voters and seeking their support for the upcoming by-poll.

The by-election is a prestige battle for Congress as the party is keen to demonstrate that it continues to enjoy the support of graduates. Jobs for unemployed youth was one of its key promises in the Assembly elections and it is reiterating its commitment to fill two lakh vacancies through the Telangana State Public Service Commission (TSPSC) before the end of 2024.

In 2021, Telangana Jana Samiti (TJS) President and academician M. Kodandaram also contested the poll from this MLC constituency but finished third. There were allegations that money was distributed among voters to defeat Kodandaram, a bitter critic of BRS President and then Chief Minister K. Chandrasekhar Rao (KCR).

Kodandaram, a former professor of political science at Osmania University, had played a key role in the Telangana movement as convenor of the Joint Action Committee (JAC), which included TRS (now BRS). He was considered close to KCR. However, after the formation of Telangana in 2014, differences cropped up between them and Kodandaram floated the TJS.

In the recent Assembly elections, Kodandaram backed the Congress and the latter rewarded him by nominating him to the Legislative Council under the Governor’s quota.

With Chief Minister A. Revanth Reddy and ministers backing him, Teenmaar Mallanna is confident of wresting the seat from BRS.

The ruling party has 33 out of the 34 MLAs in the graduates' constituency.

Mallanna, who belongs to Backward Classes Munnuru Kapu community, joined the Congress before the Assembly elections. He was earlier with the BJP.

The BRS is sparing no effort to defeat Mallanna, whom its leaders call a "blackmailer". Mallanna runs a YouTube channel considered highly critical of KCR and his family. He was arrested for his alleged derogatory posts and comments against KCR when BRS was in power.

The BRS is appealing to voters to elect the well-educated Rakesh Reddy, who completed his higher studies in the US. The BJP is banking on the PM Narendra Modi factor to win the support of graduates.

The polling will be held on May 27 while counting of votes will be taken up on June 5, a day after counting of votes polled in Lok Sabha elections.

The key political players in the state are also waiting for the result of another by-poll.

The by-election to the Legislative Council from Mahabubnagar Local Authorities’ Constituency was held on March 28 and the counting of votes was scheduled on April 2. However, the Election Commission postponed the counting to June 2 in view of the model code of conduct announced for the Lok Sabha elections.

A total of 1,439 voters, including municipal councillors, MPTCs, ZPTCs and ex-officio members, were eligible to cast their votes in the by-election and barring two, all cast their votes on March 28.

Chief Minister Revanth Reddy had cast his vote as an ex-officio member in his capacity as MLA from Kodangal constituency.

The by-election witnessed a direct fight between Manney Jeevan Reddy of the Congress and N. Naveen Kumar Reddy of BRS. Independent candidate Sudershan Goud was also in the fray.

The by-election was necessitated after Kasireddy Narayan Reddy of the BRS resigned and successfully contested as a Congress candidate from the Kalwakurthy Assembly constituency in the Assembly elections.

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