TRS set to retain majority seats in Andhra by-polls

May 27th, 2008 - 5:24 pm ICT by admin  

Hyderabad, May 27 (IANS) The Telangana Rashtra Samiti (TRS) appears set to retain a majority of the four Lok Sabha and 16 assembly constituencies in Andhra Pradesh’s Telangana region, for which by-elections are to be held Wednesday. Though facing stiff resistance from the ruling Congress party and the main opposition Telugu Desam Party (TDP) in a few constituencies, the TRS is confident it would romp home to victory by riding on Telangana sentiment.

The TRS quit from all four Lok Sabha and 16 assembly seats it was holding to protest the delay by the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government in according separate statehood to the backward Telangana region, which comprises 10 districts, including Hyderabad.

Two other assembly constituencies, including one in Telangana, are also going to the polls due to the death of the Congress and TDP legislators representing them.

While the TRS appears set to retain the Karimnagar, Warangal and Hanamkonda Lok Sabha seats, it is facing a tough battle in Adilabad, where the Congress appears to be ahead.

The separatist party, which recently celebrated seventh anniversary, is also likely to face a rough ride in four to five assembly constituencies.

The stakes are high for the TRS, which has termed the by-elections as a referendum on its main demand for separate Telangana state. Both the Congress party, which is banking on the development works taken up during last four years, and the TDP, which is hoping to cash in on anti-incumbency, are wary of the Telangana sentiment.

All political parties are aware of the importance of the results in the run-up to the next year’s assembly and Lok Sabha elections.

Though there is a section of voters who don’t appear very enthusiastic about the by-polls and are questioning the TRS’ decision to impose on the voters and the state exchequor the by-elections when the general elections are less than a year away, there are those who want to keep the Telangana issue alive.

The TRS is having a tough time convincing the voters on the need to go for by-elections. The party’s strategy is aimed at making Telangana the main issue before the 2009 elections and “exposing” the Congress party, with whom it forged an alliance in 2004.

The TRS had then bagged five Lok Sabha and 26 assembly seats. It also joined Congress-led coalition governments both in the state and the centre, but later pulled out to protest the delay in carving out the separate Telangana state.

In 2006, 10 legislators of the party staged a revolt against party president K. Chandrasekhara Rao. Last year, parliamentarian A. Narendra was expelled over his alleged role in human smuggling scandal.

Karimnagar, the Lok Sabha constituency represented by TRS chief, is witnessing by-polls for the second time in less than a year. KCR, as Rao is popularly known, quit last year when challenged by some Congress leaders but was re-elected with a massive majority. This time, he again attempts to retain the seat and faces the Congress’ T. Jeevan Reddy and the TDP’s L. Ramana.

B. Vinod Kumar of the TRS also appears to be set to retain the Hanamkonda Lok Sabha seat in Warangal district. His main rival is the Congress’ state legislator Konda Surekha.

In Warangal Lok Sabha constituency, TRS candidate Ravinder Naik looks ahead of the TDP’s E. Dayakar Rao.

In Adilabad, the TRS’ Madhusudhan Reddy is facing a tough fight from the Congress’ A. Indrakaran Reddy and the TDP’s S. Venugopalachary, who represented the constituency and served as a union minister of state at the centre. People feel Madhusudhan Reddy failed to take care of the constituency.

The TRS is also certain of bagging most of the assembly seats. It, however, faces a tough fight in four to five constituencies. These include Musheerabad in the state capital, where a BJP candidate appears to be ahead of others. It is the only seat being contested by the BJP.

Khairatabad, also in the state capital, is all set to send Congress candidate P. Vishnuvardhan Reddy to the assembly. He is the son of senior Congress leader P. Janardhan Reddy, whose death caused the by-elections to the constituency, the largest assembly constituency in India with 1.6 million voters.

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