• Warangal-Nalgonda-Khammam constituency has bright candidates in the fray
Hyderabad: The contest for the second MLC seat in Telangana is a tough as that of the first. While the first constituency, Hyderabad-Rangareddy-Mahabubnagar, has a professor in K. Nageshwar, the second constituency, Warangal-Nalgonda-Khammam has another professor in contest in Prof. Kodandaram. While the sitting member in the first constituency, N. Ramachandra Rao of the BJP, is well entrenched so does the sitting MLC in the second constituency, Palla Rajeswara Reddy of TRS. There is a woman, Vanidevi, TRS candidate and daughter of PV Narasimha Rao, in the first constituency, Rani Rudrama, a journalist and a gutsy political activist representing Yuva Telangana Party in the second contest. However, Vanidevi is among the serious contenders while Rani Rudrama, though well known, is not seen to be in the reckoning when it comes to winning the elections. The other players also are well equipped.
The sitting MLC Palla Rajeswara Reddy has a natural advantage. He himself can claim to belong to all three districts comprising the constituency. He was born in Warangal, studied in Khammam and established educational institutions in Nalgonda and Hyderabad. In addition to this, his wife Neelima belongs to another dominant and enterprising community, Kamma, hailing from Wyra in Khammam district. She has been very actively canvassing for her husband. Despite these apparent advantages, he has an anti-incumbency sentiment to reckon with. The party cadres are not very enthusiastic. The graduates grumble that he was not available for them during the last six years. His proximity to Chief Minister K. Chandrasekhara Rao (KCR) is considered a minus point since his constituents say he could not do anything despite being so near to KCR.
Others in the fray include Prof. Kodandaram, President of Telangana Jana Samiti who was the face of Telangana statehood movement, next only to KCR, considering Prof Jayashankar as father figure of the movement. Kodandaram is seen as a leader who was deliberately sidelined by KCR after coming to power seven years back. He has popular sympathy. Though he is short of workers and funds to carry his message to the graduates, he has a good image and popularity. Political observers say, the graduates who cannot give their first preference votes to Kodandaram for one reason on other would certainly give their second preference votes to him.
The third candidate, Premender Reddy, from RSS , has considerable clout in Warangal district. He has RSS friends who work silently and relentlessly. BJP itself is strong in Warangal district. Even in Khammam and Nalgonda, the youth is favourably inclined towards the saffron party because of the image of Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Modi has votes where there is no BJP presence.
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The Congress candidate, Ramulu Naik is not a local. He defected from the TRS to the Congress in the run up to 2018 elections. Before that he was nominated by TRS as an MLC. He hails from Hyderabad. The Congress has votes in Khammam and Nalgonda districts more than any other districts in the State. Across the State, it has more than 20 per cent of votes according to the data taken out of the results of the last assembly elections. Bhatti Vikramarka, the only Congress leader of any consequence from Khammam district, has been sincerely working for the party candidate. But the graduates may not prefer to vote for the Congress candidate because of the party’s national image which has been hazy.
The CPM and the CPI, the parties when together led the peasant armed struggle in Warangal (Khammam was part of it) and Nalgonda districts, are only shadows of themselves. They together sponsored Jayasaradhi Reddy, a electronic journalist from Huzurabad. There are considerable number of Left thinking graduates in this constituency.
Dr. Cheruku Sudhakar, a BC and a popular physician, is well known in Nalgonda district. He has been actively involved in Telangana statehood movement. He launched his own Telagnana Inti Party. Rani Rudrama is another candidate who started her campaign very early. She personally met thousands of graduates and canvassed for votes.
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The problem this time is that all are good candidates conducting spirited campaign. It is quite refreshing to see many sincere, bright and deserving candidates in the field. Even the weakest candidate can garner five to ten thousand votes. Most of the serious candidates are from one community – Palla Rajeswara Redd, Kodandram, Premender Reddy, Rani Rudrama and Jayasaradhi Reddy. There are a total of some 5 lakh voters in all. Rajeshwara Reddy is understood to have got more than two lakh graduates enrolled as voters. Even if 75 per cent of the voters enrolled at his behest vote for him he would win. For a win, he has to poll a little more than 1.5 lakh first preference votes. Otherwise, it would be advantage Kodandaram. One cannot say how many first preference votes would be cast for the professor. But he is sure to get maximum second preference votes. It appears to be a battle between TRS and TJS candidates. Who among Premender Reddy of the BJP and Ramulu Naik of the Congress would occupy the third position is a matter of academic interest.