Former zilla parishad chairman K. Venkataramana Reddy and his supporters during an election campaign ahead of Telanagana Assembly elections in Kamareddy in the undivided Nizamabad district. Mr. Reddy is being fielded by the BJP against chief minister K. Chandrashekar Rao and Telangana Pradesh Congress Committee (TPCC) president, A. Revanth Reddy.
| Photo Credit: NAGARA GOPAL
It would have been a routine contest in Kamareddy Assembly constituency but for the presence of two leaders in the fray — BRS president and Chief Minister K. Chandrasekhar Rao and State Congress chief A. Revanth Reddy. The political battlefield in Kamareddy has suddenly electrified with the two political heavyweights ready to take on each other on November 30 and with a first-timer — Katipally Venkataramana Reddy of BJP — also entering the fray.
The BRS chief chose to contest from a second seat, Kamareddy, after five-time MLA Gampa Goverdhan was dropped. Once Mr.Rao chose the second constituency apart from Gajwel, Mr.Revanth Reddy also put his hat in the ring by filing his nomination papers from there. As a result, former Congress Minister Md.Ali Shabbir had to shift to Nizamabad Urban constituency.
A keen triangular contest is in the offing with the three parties trying to woo voters in a big way. While Mr.Venkataramana Reddy is single-handedly spearheading his campaign by invoking the local sentiment and targeting the two heavyweights, the BRS and the Congress leaders are promising the electorate that they are lucky to have one CM and another CM in the making (with reference to Mr.Revanth Reddy).
Local BRS leaders are extensively touring rural areas to drum up support for their party chief. The Congress campaign is solely dependent on the senior party leaders from erstwhile Nizamabad district.
The town is painted with party flags while the campaign rathams of all the three parties criss-cross the streets and rural parts. Workers sporting kanduvas (scarf) are going around distributing pamphlets of their respective parties. After bifurcation of the district, Kamareddy became a separate district headquarters and now boasts of an integrated collectorate complex, SP’s office and district hospital and other facilities. Kamareddy has 2,45,822 electors that includes 1,18,718 males and 1,27,080 females.
Many senior Congress leaders from Kamareddy chose to move with Md. Ali Shabbir, who is the party nominee from Nizamabad Urban constituency. This has forced the party to rope in senior leaders like Nizamabad DCC chief Tippireddy Mohan Reddy, former MLC Arikala Narsa Reddy and others to coordinate the campaign for Mr.Revanth Reddy.
Mr.Chandrasekhar Rao and Mr.Revanth Reddy have been visiting the constituency on and off to campaign for themselves and leaving the rest to the local leaders. It is here that the BJP candidate has tried to exploit the situation.
Mr.Venkataramana Reddy, locals say, has been accessible and is quite popular among the electorate. He began his political journey as ZPTC member of Nizamabad Zilla Parishad, quit the Telangana Rashtra Samithi (now BRS) and joined the YSR Congress Party of Y.S.Jagan Mohan Reddy for a brief period, being a die-hard fan of late Y. S. Rajasekhara Reddy. His father K. Raji Reddy was a popular MLA of Kamareddy. For the last three years, he has been with the BJP.
The BJP candidate gained prominence after taking up the issue of delayed wages for Anganwadi workers and spearheaded the agitation against the Kamareddy Master Plan, which proposed merger of several fringe villagers into the municipality. An uproar by the local villagers and weeks of agitation prompted the government to drop the Master Plan altogether. This issue brought a lot of goodwill to Mr.Venkataramana Reddy.
The BRS is banking on its welfare and developmental programmes initiated across the State and in Kamareddy too. But, the anti-incumbency sentiment against the local MLA could dent the BRS’ chances. Simultaneously, though Congress party and its leader Mr.Revanth Reddy have been able to attract the voters, it is to be seen if that will translate into victory.
There is increasing buzz that Mr.Chandrasekhar Rao or Mr.Revanth Reddy will vacate the seat once they are elected from either Gajwel or Kodangal forcing a bye-election. This issue could be a cause of concern for the BRS and the Congress.
In the keenly watched election in Kamareddy, it is to be seen how the two Bahubalis (as party leaders refer to them) fare against the first-timer, who is expected to give them a tough fight.