Hyderabad: The Dubbak constituency in Telangana’s Siddipet district is resounding with heated campaigns by political parties amid the raging COVID-19 pandemic and devastation caused by the recent floods, as the bye-elections for the vacant MLA seat is scheduled for November 3.
Political observers say that the election is set to be a triangular fight -- among Telangana Rashtra Samithi, Congress and the Bharatiya Janata Party -- as the ruling TRS is aiming to retain the seat after the election was necessitated by the demise of its MLA Solipeta Ramalinga Reddy in August, while for the Congress and BJP, winning the seat is crucial for their own party’s future in the state.
Among the 34 candidates in the fray, TRS has fielded Solipeta Sujatha, wife of former sitting MLA late Ramalinga Reddy, Congress fielded Cheruku Srinivas Reddy and BJP fielded M Raghunandan Rao, who was also the party’s candidate from the constituency in the last two elections.
Left parties -- CPI(M) and CPI and Professor Kodandaram’s Telangana Jana Samithi have stayed away from the bypolls, while appealing the people to vote against the BJP.
This bypoll also marks the beginning of the election season in the state as it is to be followed by the Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation (GHMC) elections and Member of Legislative Council (MLC) Elections.
Meanwhile, on Tuesday, October 27, Telangana Police stated that they seized Rs 40 lakh from a businessman during a vehicle checking which was reportedly meant for distributing in favour of the BJP candidate. Earlier on Monday, the state police had seized Rs 18.67 lakh from the residence of a close relative of the BJP candidate, Raghunandan Rao. Following the seizure, BJP supporters got into a scuffle with the police while one of them snatched Rs 12 lakh from the police and ran away from the spot which was also captured in videos.
Also read: Elections 2019: Rs 8 Crore Seized From BJP Supporters in Hyderabad
However, the state BJP leaders have responded by blaming that the police personnel were acting in favour of the TRS. BJP state president Bandi Sanjay and Union Minister of State for Home Affairs G Kishan Reddy visited the houses where the raids were conducted.
Finance Minister T Harish Rao has alleged that the BJP is trying to win elections with money and creating high drama. “When police raided the house of the relative of Raghunandan Rao, the BJP activists behaved like goondas and took away the money. Money being sent to the BJP candidate was caught on the outskirts of Hyderabad. Police checked the house of our party leader Rajanarsu. They have even stopped my vehicle and party candidate Sujatha vehicles,” accused Harish Rao while addressing an election rally.
Political analyst and former MLC, K Nageshwar Rao, told NewsClick that the elections will indicate if the people are dissatisfied with the ruling TRS regime in spite of the party having stronghold there. “For Congress and BJP, the fight is also to emerge as the main opponent to the TRS,” he said.
Both the BJP and Congress are reportedly focusing on wooing young voters highlighting the unemployment issue in the state. There are about 90,000 voters in the age group of 19 to 38 years in the constituency. Whereas, TRS leaders claim to be focusing on increasing their margin of victorythis time.
“Unemployment and deficiencies in welfare policies is a major problem that concerns TRS,” said Nageshwar Rao.
In the previous 2018 elections, TRS candidate Ramalinga Reddy won the Dubbak seat securing 89,299 votes, which was 54.36% of total votes polled at that time. Congress’s M Nageshwar Reddy came second with 16.31% votes securing more than BJP’s Raghunandan Rao (13.75% votes polled). The seat was won by TRS’ Ramalinga Reddy in the 2014 Assembly elections.
All the three major parties have roped in their top leaders for campaigning across the constituency.