Telangana votes today: Key constituencies and candidates in focus
Hyderabad: The high-stakes Telangana Assembly elections, scheduled for Thursday, will witness a triangular contest involving the ruling Bharat Rashtra Samithi (BRS), the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), and the Congress.
Polling is set for all 119 constituencies from 7 am to 6 pm.
In the hours preceding voters' presence at polling booths, here's a glimpse into key constituencies that will shape the political landscape.
The list of important constituencies includes Gajwel, Huzurabad, Korutla, Maheshwaram, Goshamahal, Mahbubnagar, LB Nagar, Warangal East and West, Bhupalapally, Khairatabad, Amberpet, Boath, Nirmal, Adilabad, Ramagundam, Peddapalli, Kothagudem, Armoor, Nizamabad Urban, Patancheru, Serilingampally, Husnabad, Dubbak, Kalwakurthy, and others.
Incumbent Chief Minister and the founder of BRS, K Chandrashekar Rao, is contesting from two seats: his original seat, Gajwel, and Kamareddy. In the 2018 elections, KCR secured a victory in Gajwel by over 58,000 votes. This time, he faces BJP leader Etela Rajender in Gajwel and Congress state unit chief Revanth Reddy in Kamareddy.
His son and Telangana minister K T Rama Rao is contesting from the Sircilla seat, which he won in 2018 by a significant margin of over 89,000 votes.
Both, Etela Rajender and Revanth Reddy are also contesting from two seats, with Etela in Huzurabad and Revanth Reddy in Kodangal.
A spotlight is on Korutla, where the BJP has fielded Lok Sabha member Arvind Dharmapuri against BRS's Kalvakuntla Sanjay and Congress's Narsinga Rao Juvvadi. In Maheshwaram, BRS has pitted Patlolla Sabitha Indra Reddy against K Laxma Reddy (Congress) and Andela Sriramulu Yadav (BJP). Goshamahal features BJP's T Raja Singh, whose suspension was revoked last month, contesting against significant opposition.
A staunch critic of the BJP's T Raja and the younger brother of AIMIM chief Asaduddin Owaisi, Akbaruddin Owaisi, is contesting from the Chandrayangutta constituency.
In Mahbubnagar, V Srinivas Goud (BRS) faces competition from AP Mithun Kumar Reddy of BJP and Yennam Srinivas Reddy of Congress. In LB Nagar, BJP's Sama Ranga Reddy competes against Madhu Yaskhi Goud of Congress and Devireddy Sudhir Reddy (BRS).
Bhupalapally seat holds significance, with Gandra Venkata Ramana Reddy representing BRS, Gandra Satyanarayana Rao from Congress, and G Keerthi Reddy from BJP. In Ramagundam, BRS's Korukanti Chander Patel competes against Congress's Makkan Singh Raj Thakur and BJP's Kandula Sandhya Rani.
Peddapalli seat features the Congress candidate Chinthakunta Vijaya Ramana Rao against Pradeep Kumar Dugyala of the BJP and Dasari Manohar Reddy of BRS. Madhira Assembly constituency is set to witness a face-off between Congress leader Mallu Bhatti Vikramarka and BRS's Kamal Raju Lingala, with Bhatti winning by a small margin in previous elections.
Similarly, in Nizamabad Urban, BRS has fielded Goverdhan Bajireddy against Bhoopathi Reddy Rekulapally (Congress) and Dinesh Kumar Kulachari of the BJP.
While the BJP has an ambitious goal of seeing its first government in Telangana, the Congress is hoping to come to power on the basis of the "momentum" of the past few months. But the party has a huge, almost 18 per cent gap to cover in terms of voting percentage of previous assembly elections.
The BJP aspires to establish its first government in Telangana, while the Congress aims to leverage recent momentum, despite facing an almost 18 per cent gap in voting percentage compared to previous assembly elections.
If KCR secures another term, it would mark the first instance of a Chief Minister from a southern state serving three consecutive terms.