HYDERABAD: As April 17 polling day is nearing, the Telangana Rastra Samiti (TRS) has gone into a mission mode to educate voters of the Nagarjunasagar Assembly constituency about exercising their franchise for ruling party symbol car in the correct manner.
The party is using sample EVMs papers to ensure voters cast their votes for the TRS correctly, without confusing the party symbol with similar-looking images on the machine.
The TRS is taking extra precautions this time to avoid the past experience of losing votes to independent candidates who have been allotted similar-looking symbols like truck, iron box, road roller, tractor, chapati maker and so on. Voters, particularly in rural areas, had been confusing the TRS car symbol with these images.
Significantly, the ruling party believes it lost Huzurnagar Assembly poll in December 2018 and Dubbak bypoll in December 2020 owing to such confusion.
Though Election Commission removed truck and iron box symbols during 2019 Lok Sabha elections following a request made by TRS after 2018 Assembly polls, the party says the commission has allotted other similar looking symbols in Nagarjunasagar constituency to independents.
As many as 45 contestants are contesting from the Nagarjunasagar constituency. Barring three major parties – TRS, Congress and BJP – the rest are either independents or those representing smaller parties. Election Commission has been forced to use two EVMs to accommodate all of them.
Incidentally, the three major parties will figure in the first EVM. But this EVM has a few independent candidates with symbols like road roller, tractor and chapati maker, which TRS leaders say look like their party symbol car.
After 2018 December Assembly polls, TRS president and Chief Minister K. Chandrasekhar Rao had formally lodged a complaint with the Election Commission of India saying TRS lost several votes to the truck symbol in several Assembly seats. Due to this, TRS candidate lost from one seat and victory margins of the party got reduced considerably in around 12 Assembly seats, the CM pointed out.
In the Dubbak Assembly bypoll, independent candidate Bandaru Nagaraju, who was allotted the chapati maker symbol, polled 3,570 votes, while the TRS lost this election to the BJP with just 1,118 votes. TRS leaders point out that all other independents polled votes in single digits. This is ample proof that TRS voters got confused and voted for Nagaraju. Otherwise, the ruling party would have easily won Dubbak, they claimed.
This is precisely the reason why TRS leaders are taking the issue very seriously and educating their party voters to vote in the right manner for the car symbol.