Halia: In the midst of the high-pitched election campaign in Nagarjunasagar
assembly constituency, TRS candidate Nomula Bhagath, son of deceased MLA Nomula Narasimhaiah, exudes confidence about his victory in the by-election. He says his victory is assured on the back of TRS chief and Chief Minister K Chandrashekar Rao's welfare schemes, development programmes and the goodwill his father had earned as TRS leader since 2013 as also as Nagarjunasagar MLA from December 2018 to December 2020. Such was
Bhagat's confidence levels that he says he is focusing mainly on enlarging his majority and not just a victory.
A software engineer-turned-advocate, he says the sympathy factor would also work in his favour. The 37-year-old Bhagath did B.Tech, MBA and LLM, and is now a practising advocate in the Telangana High Court. He joined the TRS in 2014 and participated in a recent membership drive by the party.
In an exclusive interview to Deccan Chronicle, while campaigning in Peddavoora mandal in Pothunuru village, Bhagat explains why his victory is a foregone conclusion. EXCERPTS:
Q: Did you expect to get TRS ticket to contest the bypoll given that several noted and senior local TRS leaders were in the race and you were inferior to them both in terms of age and political experience?
A: I never expected I will get the TRS ticket for the same reasons that you have mentioned. But CM KCR garu and working president KTR garu stood by me like my family members after I lost my father. Whatever development issues or welfare schemes concerning Nagarjunasagar constituency I brought to their notice after my father's demise, they addressed those issues faster. They have given same prominence to me that my father used to get as an MLA. They only asked me to continue the good work in the constituency without thinking about the bypoll or the party ticket and that the party leadership will take a call on those at the right time. I had no information about getting the ticket until March 29 when I was asked to come to Pragathi Bhavan in Hyderabad. The last date to file the nomination was March 30. It was a pleasant surprise for me when KCR garu handed over B-form to me and asked me to contest the poll. I cannot express in words how thankful I felt when KCR garu handed over a Rs 28 lakh cheque along with the party ticket to meet the election expenses. These days, all parties demand money from ticket aspirants, but KCR garu gave me money in return. That is the greatness of KCR garu.
Q: Opposition parties campaign that you are a non local and not experienced in politics. What's your take on this?
A: I may be half the age of Congress candidate A Jana Reddy but age doesn't matter for a political leader in public life if one is sincere and committed to serving the people and his constituency. I believe people vote for TRS, KCR garu and KTR garu in the election and not for Bhagat. They are bigger than me. I will act as per the directions of the party leadership.
Coming to local and non-local issues, the Nagarjunasagar people already gave a verdict in December 2018 by electing my father as MLA. Non- local is a non-issue now. Opposition leaders or candidates who claim themselves as locals should realize that they don't own a house in Nagarjunasagar constituency and they stay in Hyderabad. They only run part-time camp offices in Nagarjunasagar. But my father had built his own house in Halia in Nagarjunasagar constituency in 2016 even before he was elected as MLA and stayed there till he breathed his last. He was accessible to people all the time. I reside in the same house. Now these people should answer who are non-locals.
Q: What chances do you stand in this election where you are pitted against Congress strongman Jana Reddy and the BJP that is claiming to
repeat the Dubbak bypoll success?
A: The tremendous response I am getting from the people wherever I campaign since March 30 proves beyond doubt that my victory is certain. I campaigned in 85 villages and covered three out of six mandals. I will cover all the remaining villages and mandals in the next one week. I noticed everywhere that people are keen to vote for TRS and give me an opportunity to serve them to complete the balance of the development works promised by my late father. For this reason, I am looking at enlarging the majority and not just victory, which is imminent.
Coming to Jana Reddy garu, people are questioning what he will do now if he wins. He failed to develop the constituency after winning from here seven times as MLA and working as minister for 17 years. They already rejected Jana Reddy in 2018. BJP neither has leaders or cadre in Nagarjunasagar. People here never owned the BJP as their party and they were polled just about 2,000 votes in the 2018 assembly polls.
Q: What makes you so confident of winning this election?
A: The message about the development programmes and welfare schemes of the TRS government has reached every household in the constituency. There are over 1.50 lakh beneficiaries of TRS welfare schemes who pledge and vow to support TRS in the elections. Voters want to thank KCR garu for giving them 24x7 power supply, 24x7 free power to agriculture, Rs2,000 to Rs3,000 as Aasar pensions, Rs10,000 per acre per year under the Rythu Bandhu scheme, Rs5 lakh Rythu Bima and so on. This list is endless. Added to this, there is the sympathy factor in my favour.
Q: But sympathy factor failed to work in the recent Dubbak bypoll.
A: The situation and factors in Dubbak and Nagarjunasagar are totally different. In Dubbak, BJP won with a slender majority. But mark my
words. BJP will not retain even its deposit in Nagarjunasagar. I am ready to talk on this after the Nagarjunasagar bypoll result is out.
Q: What do you want to achieve by winning this bypoll?
A: My father could not take up some development projects and welfare schemes due to the corona-linked lockdown and the subsequent funds crunch. Though we never stopped development programmes in the constituency, the pace of works slowed down. I want to speed up and complete the remaining works with the support of CM KCR in the remaining two-and-a-half years of tenure as MLA after getting elected.