Hyderabad, Oct 27 (IANS) With barely a week to go, the campaign for November 3 by-election to the Dubbak Assembly constituency in Telangana has gathered momentum.
The ruling Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) and the opposition Congress and Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) are making all out efforts to woo the voters.
The leaders of all three parties are crisscrossing the constituency, addressing rallies and conducting road shows.
The TRS, which is sitting pretty to retain the seat, is ahead of its rivals in the campaign with Finance Minister T. Harish Rao himself leading the charge with the target of ensuring the party’s victory with a majority of one lakh votes.
Harish Rao had been visiting the villages and addressing meetings much before the announcement of the poll schedule. He believes that both the Congress and the BJP are competing for the second place.
The TRS campaign is expected to get further boost with Chief Minister and party President K. Chandrasekhar Rao’s visit to the constituency later this week. He is likely to promise a package for the constituency.
The by-election is necessitated by the death of Solipeta Ramalinga Reddy. The TRS has fielded his wife Solipeta Sujatha as its candidate.
Though a total of 23 candidates are in fray for the by-poll, the contest is mainly among the TRS, the Congress and the BJP.
The Congress has fielded Cheruku Srinivas Reddy, who defected to the party from the TRS early this month after he was denied the ticket.
BJP’s M. Raghunandan Rao is testing his luck for a third time here. He had lost in 2014 and 2018, finishing a distant third on both occasions.
The BJP, which had bagged four Lok Sabha seats to shock the TRS last year, is looking to improve its performance. Its leaders are even confident of the party’s victory.
The recovery of over Rs 18 lakh cash from a relative of Raghunandan Rao on Monday and the spat between the TRS and the BJP has added zing to the campaign.
Police in Siddipet town alleged that the BJP candidate’s supporters attacked the officials after the search at house of Rao’s relative and snatched part of the cash.
On the other hand, the BJP has alleged that the police planted money at the behest of the TRS to disqualify its candidate.
BJP national Vice President D.K. Aruna and other party leaders, campaigning in the constituency, alleged that the TRS was afraid of defeat and hence trying to frame the BJP candidate.
The TRS is also using the incident to step up attack on the BJP. Addressing the election meetings, Harish Rao said the BJP stands completely exposed as its candidate was caught red-handed with the money meant for distribution among voters.
State Congress chief Uttam Kumar Reddy and several party leaders are addressing series of meeting in the constituency for last two weeks.
The Congress is looking to wrest the seat from the TRS, which is holding it since 2014. Ramalinga Reddy had then defeated his nearest rival, Mutyam Reddy of the Congress by nearly 38,000 votes
The TRS candidate retained the seat in 2018 election as the margin of victory improved to over 62,000. M. Nageshwar Reddy of Congress had finished runners-up.
Banking on sympathy and seek votes on its performance during last six years, the TRS is confident that it will be a cakewalk.
This is the second Assembly by-election after the TRS retained power in 2018. Last year, the ruling party wrested Huzurnagar from the Congress.
The seat was vacated by Uttam Kumar Reddy, following his election to Lok Sabha from Nalgonda.