In Erravalli village of Gajwel assembly constituency of Telangana, voters seem content with the performance of its sitting MLA, chief minister K. Chandrasekhar Rao – popularly known as KCR.
“There is no contest here. KCR will win,” says a teashop owner at the junction of the village. “He has done good work for the village,” he adds, pointing to the double bedroom houses built by the chief minister. He also mentions the drinking water and irrigation projects taken up by him during his tenure as the MLA of the constituency. “People here are completely in favour of KCR,” echoes a vendor who sells guavas in Pragnapur. “A lot has been done in his rule.”
In Jagdevpur, however, people believe it’s not going to be easy for KCR to retain his seat. Pochaiyya, a villager, informs The Wire that “There is a contest because Pratap Reddy, who has been involved in public issues for the past few years, is giving good competition while KCR has remained inaccessible”. Similarly, in Sangupalli, there is sympathy for Pratap Reddy, who is contesting on a Congress ticket.
It is worth mentioning that in the last election, Reddy got 67,303 votes, scoring the second position while contesting on a Telugu Desam Party (TDP) ticket. KCR won by a margin of 19,366 votes in a triangular fight between Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS), TDP and Congress, in which the Congress candidate T. Narsa Reddy received 34,085 votes.
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However, this time around, with the coming together of TDP and Congress under the banner of Maha Kutami and Narsa Reddy supporting Pratap Reddy, the alliance candidate stands a fair chance of winning. Political observers in the state capital believe that if the alliance is able to transfer its votes, then it will be very difficult for KCR to retain his own seat.
Another aspect which can work against KCR is not spending enough time in the constituency, something that even the chief minister acknowledges. According to a recent report in the Times of India, while addressing 20,000 party men from across the constituency at Erravelli, he had said that, “I will allocate more time for Gajwel in my next term.” It is also being alleged that it is not just his constituency that is feeling neglected, he has also been virtually inaccessible to people at large.
Moreover, last month, several TRS leaders from his constituency joined the Congress. According to a report in The Hindu, “Those who joined included Jagdevpur MPP Renuka, MPTCs Mamata Bhanu and Kavitha Yadigiri, former sarpanches Ellaiah and Vijaya, councillors Bhagya Laxmi and Durga Prasad.” Similarly, in the last month, two senior TRS leaders, Narsa Reddy, former Gajwel MLA and Ramulu Naik, MLC from Narayankhed, crossed over to the Congress.
Meanwhile, a confident KCR and his party members are heavily relying on the visible development work and welfare projects undertaken by his government. “Eighty percent of the polled votes would be in favour of us. It would be an outright (win),” Rao’s political secretary, S. Subhash Reddy, told PTI. He cited the 24-hour power supply to farm sector, copious supply of fertilisers, ‘Rythu Bandhu’ investment support scheme and farmers’ insurance scheme as examples of some of the welfare measures undertaken by the TRS government.
The state goes to polls on December 7 and the results will be declared on December 11. It would be interesting to see whether the grand alliance gets its votes successfully transferred or the visible development work done by the TRS government prevails.
In arrangement with TheWire.in