Hyderabad: The TRS has not lost an Assembly byelection in a decade. The race in the Huzurnagar Assembly byelection is so close, that the Congress may well end that record run. A defeat will affect the Congress much more, however, coming atop major setbacks after the Assembly election. The BJP has no presence at Huzurnagar, and the Telugu Desam could play spoiler to the Congress.
The campaign for the byelection ended on Saturday. Elections will be held on Monday and the outcome will be known by noon on Thursday. Party activists will now go door to door to seek votes.
Since 2009, the TRS has won 20 byelections. It retained its seats in 18 bypolls, and wrested two from the Congress.
The Congress campaign was boosted by the ongoing RTC staff strike. Besides this is a seat that the party’s state unit president N. Uttam Kumar Reddy has won for three straight terms.
The bypoll was necessitated after he retained his Lok Sabha seat. Former legislator N. Padmavathi Reddy, his wife, is the Congress candidate. The party is badly looking for a break after a dozen of its legislators switched over to the TRS.
It will also keep the momentum going after winning three seats in the Lok Sabha polls. Besides, the party has the support of teacher, students and workers unions.
TRS pulls out all stops to win bypoll
But the presence of BJP and TD candidates will cut into its anti-TRS votes. Besides, there are 11,000 Kamma votes and around 50,000 people who have settled from the Andhra region. If these votes go to the TD, Congress candidate may be in trouble.
For the TRS, winning Huzurnagar seat will show that it retains the people’s support despite its setbacks in the Lok Sabha elections. It also needs to show that it has support for its stand against the RTC strike.
The TRS has put in all efforts to wrest the seat, including posting several ministers and leaders a month before the polls to oversee the campaign and pushing in hefty resources. The BJP and the Congress are claiming that they are the political alternative in the state. Victory at Huzurnagar will show there is no alternative to the TRS.
The BJP has lost its deposit in the two previous polls from here. After winning four Lok Sabha seats, the BJP feels it has the momentum and Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s image will help it garner votes. The absence of a strong local cadre is an disadvantage.
The Telugu Desam has almost disappeared and it did not contest the Lok Sabha elections. Its sudden decision to contest in Huzurnagar is seen as a means to test its strength. While its support among the Kamma and ‘settler’ groups give it an advantage, it lacks leadership in the state....