Massive crowd roots for Sravanthi, raises hopes for Congress
DECCAN CHRONICLE | L. Venkat Ram Reddy
HYDERABAD: The last day to file nominations for the Munugode byelections on Friday, billed as a semi-final to the 2023 Assembly elections and a matter of prestige for the major political parties, turned out to be a show of strength for the Congress too.
The party brimmed with confidence following a large turnout of people for Palvai Sravanthi's nomination rally in Chandur, raising hopes of party leaders and cadre of retaining the Munugode seat.
The rally also demonstrated unity among the Congress leaders, as it was attended by the party’s heavyweights including TPCC chief A. Revanth Reddy, Nalgonda MP N. Uttam.Kumar Reddy, CLP leader Mallu Bhatti Vikramarka, former MP V.Hanumantha Rao, and other senior leaders, and boosted the morale of the party's rank and file, which had been hit following Komatireddy Rajgopal Reddy's sudden resignation from the Congress to join the BJP in August.
Buoyed by the sight of massive crowd, the Congress leaders declared that it was an indication of 'winds of change' in Munugode ahead of polling on November 3. The mood of the people at the rally was that Sravathi may throw a surprise despite a huge hype over "TRS-BJP battle" in the bypoll.
They expressed confidence that Sravanthi will emerge victorious on the back of the goodwill her family enjoys among people of the constituency and the valuable services rendered by her father late Palvai Govardhan Reddy during his stint as MLA from this constituency multiple times and also as a Rajya Sabha member.
There was a sea of humanity in Chandur as the rally saw huge participation from all the sections, especially women who rallied behind Sravanthi raising slogans "Munugode MLA Sravanthi", and "Palvai Govardhan Reddy amar hai."
The rally covered five kilometres and featured a large fleet of cars, trucks, tractors, two-wheelers, and other vehicles. Women playing Bathukamma and Kolatams, tribal women performing various arts, a few drumming, and a few bursting fireworks all contributed to the rally's festive mood.
Police struggled to control the crowd even as thousands of people could not reach the rally venue due to traffic jam. For several hours, hundreds of vehicles were snarled in a traffic bottleneck. After the gathering, it took many hours for the police to empty the streets.
Supporters of Sravanthi slammed BJP candidate Komatireddy Rajgopal Reddy for not only "cheating" people of the constituency by quitting Congress after getting elected as MLA but also made a mockery of "sacrifice" made by Palvai family. They said Palvai family sacrificed ticket in the 2018 Assembly polls in favour of Rajgopal Reddy and worked hard for his victory but he ditched them all by quitting the Congress and joining the BJP.
Describing Munugode as "Congress adda" (Congress fortress), Sravanthi's supporters exuded confidence that Congress flag will fly high on November 6, when counting of votes will take place.
"The massive turnout of people for Sravanthi's rally in Chandur is an answer to those who are dubbing Munugode bypoll as a battle between TRS and BJP. This rally proved beyond doubt that the fight is between TRS and Congress. BJP is nowhere in the picture. Both TRS and BJP are just creating hype by splurging money but people are with Congress," said K.Vijayalaxmi, a private teacher, who came all the way from Gattuppal, for the rally.
Nalla Santosh Raj, who runs a kirana store in Nermata village, said, "Sravanthi would have become MLA in 2014 itself. But the Congress high command did a mistake by denying her ticket in 2014 and fielding Rajgopal in 2018. Both these decisions were proved wrong now. We are glad that finally Congress high command took a right decision by fielding Sravanthi in the bypoll. TRS and BJP have created a fake impression that this bypoll is a fight between TRS and BJP conveniently ignoring the fact that this seat is held by Congress until recently."