Thursday, August 5, 2021

First timers to take on Jana Reddy, a minister in NTR cabinet

  • Nagarjuna Sagar Assembly  bypoll to be fought fiercely

The die is cast for an epic battle for Nagarjuna Sagar Assembly seat. The only experienced candidate in the fray is former minister K. Jana Reddy who will be fighting the first timers fielded by the two other major parties. Veteran Jana Reddy was a popular minister in NTRs cabinet handling most portfolios.  The polling in Nagarjuna Sagar Assembly constituency will take place on April 17. The TRS and the BJP have decided to field first timers.

Senior leaders to accompany candidates

Most of the important candidates would be filing their nomination papers on Wednesday, 31 March 2021. Congress candidate Jana Reddy will be accompanied by senior party leaders Uttam Kumar Reddy, Bhatti Vikramarka and Komatireddi Venkata Reddy. TRS candidate Nomula Bhagat Kumar will have the company of deputy chief minister Mahmood Ali, ministers Jagadeeswara Reddy, Talasani Srinivasa Yadav, MLC Palla Rajeswara Reddy. BJP candidate Ravikumar Naik would be accompanied by BJP State president Bandi Sanjay and others.

KCR takes his own time to select candidate

Chief Minister of Telangana State Kalvakuntla Chandrasekhar Rao (KCR) had taken his own sweet time to decide the TRS candidate. The party nominee is none other than Nomula Bhagat Kumar, son of the deceased leader Nomula Narasimhaiah. With a view to en cashing sympathy for the departed leader’s family, KCR had chosen to field the son of late MLA. In Dubbaka by-election, the TRS fielded the wife of the departed leader Solipeta Ramalinga Reddy. The CM was not prepared to break the tradition even though the TRS candidate lost the Dubbaka seat. KCR did not want to select a candidate other than Narasimhaiah’s son lest the family felt neglected and insulted sending bad signals to the general public.

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Many Yadavs among the hopefuls

Since the CM had taken a lot of time to select the candidate, there were many hopefuls who felt crestfallen when the name of the candidate was announced. There were enough hints that the ruling party would go for a Yadava even if it did not select Bharat Kumar. Yadava leaders such as Katteboyina Guruvaiah Yadav, a brother-in-law of Rajya Sabha member B. Lingaiah Yadav, and Dudimetla Balraj Yadav, the son-in-law of former Telugu Desam leader Ramamurthy, were hoping to get the ticket. Ramamurthy was the first generation BC politician who defeated Jana Reddy in 1994 election in the NTR wave.  More than half of the Assembly term is already over.

Prestigious for all the major parties

But the fight has become prestigious for all the three major parties. It is important election for  TRS and BJP after winning MLC elections and Dubbaka bypoll respectively. The Congress is fielding its best candidate who won the seat earlier several times.  In the fiercely fought MLC elections for two graduate seats, Mahabubnagar-Ranga Reddy-Hyderabad and Nalgonda-Warngal-Khmmam, the TRS won both in the second count. TRS which was not in the fight to start with in Mahabubnagar-Ranga Reddy-Hyderabad graduates constituency, came back strongly with the selection of Surabhi Vani Devi, daughter of late prime minister PV Narasimha Rao and humbled the sitting BJP member N. Ramachander Rao and Prof. Nageswar who won twice in the past. Selection of the TRS candidate was the masterstroke on KCR’s part. Even in Nalgonda-Warangal-Khammam graduates constituency, Prof. Kodandaram who challenged the sitting MLC Palla Rajeswara Reddy had to be content with third position conceding the second place to Teenamaar Mallanna alias Navin, a YouTube channel celebrity. Now that the TRS has found the winning ways, it wants to ensure the victory of the official party candidate in Nagarjuna Sagar also.

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Thirty six year old Bhagat Kumar, the TRS candidate, who did engineering like many of his compatriots, then went on to do MBA and later shifted to law by doing LLB and LLM. He is practising at the Hyderabad High Court.

BJP fields a physician

BJP which waited for the TRS to announce its candidate had come up with a medical doctor, P. Ravi Kumar Naik. The BJP candidate resigned from the job of medical officer at a government primary health centre a year ago to start his own practice while keeping his political options open. The candidate from Lambada community, ST, is also new to politics. The BJP which did well in Dubbaka and Greater Hyderabad Municipal Coroporation elections, could not repeat the miracle in MLC elections. It lost its Mahabubnagar-Ranga Reddy-Hyderabad graduates constituency and could come up to the fourth place in the other constituency comprising Nalgonda, Warangal and Khammam districts. BJP has taken the Sagar bypoll also seriously as the party is used to taking every elections as a do-or-die affair. Senior leaders such as Kishan Reddy, Dr. Lakshman, Muralidhar Rao, Indrasena Reddy and Ramachander Rao are going to sweat it out for the party candidate.  

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A reluctant Jana Reddy persuaded to contest

A reluctant Jana Reddy was persuaded by his party leaders and friends to jump into the fray at an advanced age. He is popular in the constituency. He lost last time because of inadequate campaign and overconfidence. He launched his campaign very early this time although the chief minister had addressed a huge public meeting at Halia in February itself in which he promised to undertake lift irrigation works on Nagarjuna Sagar project with a layout of Rs. 3,000 crore.

While giving B-form to Bharat Kumar, KCR assured the candidate that he and his son K. Tarakarama Rao would be canvassing for him. It would be an interesting fortnight of powerful campaign beginning with nominations.

Also Read : Reaffirmation of faith in Jagan’s leadership

K. Ramachandra Murthy
Founder & Editor

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