ADILABAD: It is a fight between caste factor and Telangana sentiment in this district headquarters town. Now, the Telangana sentiment is strong unlike in the past. However, the TDP has strategically fielded Payala Sankar, a BC.
Backward classes form more than half of the voters in this Assembly segment. Besides, Sankar has earned reputation as a good leader. With his personal image and also strong support from his own caste, Sankar is set to give a tough fight to TRS candidate Jogu Ramanna, who resigned as a TDP MLA and is now contesting on TRS ticket in the byelection.
When Sankar filed his papers on Monday, an impressive rally followed him. The participants consisted of youths, farmers and farm workers. Those who took part in the rally held yellow flags and raised “Jai TDP” slogans, but many carried strong T-sentiment in their hearts.
Several TDP workers said they would vote for Telangana (read TRS). “I will vote for Telangana,” said Saidulu from a nearby village. Asked why was he participating in the TDP rally, he replied, “I am a TDP worker. I will campaign for my party. On the polling day, I will remove my yellow scarf and go to the polling booth to vote for Telangana. We want a separate state.”
Another TDP activist Bhumanna, from Ramayam, said the TDP would give a good fight to the TRS. But finally the Telangana sentiment will win, he said.
A farm labourer from Baila, Narasinga Rao, pointed out that Jogu Ramanna won the last election only due to the support extended by Sankar. It was Sankar rather than the alliance with TRS which helped Ramanna in the last elections.
Narasinga Rao is not a TDP worker, but he is impressed with the work done by Sankar as a ZPTC member. “Sankar dug borewells. He spent his own money for the public and always available over phone even to ordinary people. He also constructed Hanuman mandirs. I want to see leaders like Sankar as an MLA,” he said.
Among the educated voters, Sakala Janula Samme was a debatable point. “The Sakala Janula Samme was called off abruptly. The Centre did not grant the T-state even after a 42-day strike by employees. The Samme only caused hardship to the public. Now, the people are vexed with such agitations. I will not vote for the TRS this time,” K Bheem Sankar, a government employee said.
However, his colleague B Rajarao differed. “The public are very angry with the Congress for its cruel way of dealing with the Sakala Janula Samme. This time, even Congress and TDP voters will vote for TRS,” he argued.