Panchayat elections in Ranga Reddy district this time will be an expensive affair. Being close to Hyderabad and having a large number of industries and institutions, winning the election there has become a prestige issue for all the political parties.
With a large number of heavy weights of the district taking part in the polls, competition has not only become tough but also expensive. People are ready to spend crores for sarpanch posts.
Though the panchayat elections are held on apolitical basis, with general election round the corner, political parties are taking local body polls very seriously and are making all-out effort to win.
Ranga Reddy district being in the Telangana region, it is obvious that Telangana sentiment will play an important role. However, it will be the money power and caste equations which will decide the victory of candidates. People expect candidates to take up local issues, especially related to price rise, drinking water, infrastructure and power.
The parties have already started their ground work and are doing door-to-door campaign in the district.
Congress and TDP will mainly have to tackle the Telangana factor in the region. With both the parties facing the allegation of blocking Telangana statehood, it would be tough for them to face the voters.
The TDP has won more than 50 percent of the gram panchayat seats in the last elections held in 2005. But this time, with a lot of change in political equations and situations, the TDP would have to put in extra effort to retain its seats. With Pargi TDP MLA Harishwar Reddy and Vikarabad MLA A Chandrasekhar joining TRS, the party has almost lost its base in Ranga Reddy district. The absence of strong leadership in the district will affect the prospects of the party.
The Congress has seven MLAs in the district and has a fair chance of winning seats. Being in power, it has an edge over other parties and could do better than in last polls. With the Congress high command’s decision on Telangana statehood coming shortly, the party is likely to benefit in the polls.
The TRS will be contesting its first local body poll in the district. Though it has its presence in the district, but it will be difficult for it to capture majority seats. With Telangana statehood issue reaching its last leg, TRS will try to encash the sentiment of the people. The BJP, which is making tall claims about its presence in the district, may end up winning few seats.
Elections would be held in 649 panchayats and 6,088 wards in the district, while 38 gram panchayats that are proposed to be merged with the GHMC are exempted.
Elections in Ranga Reddy east division have been scheduled for July 23. In Chevella division, the poll will be held on July 27 and in Vikarabad division on July 31.