HYDERABAD: The bypoll to the Huzurnagar Assembly seat, vacated by TPCC chief N Uttam Kumar Reddy, is set to be a battle for prestige between the TRS, Congress and BJP. The by-election will be held on October 21. The seat went vacant as Uttam was elected to the Lok Sabha from Nalgonda.
Retaining the seat would not only be a matter of honour for the Congress, but a strong statement to establish an anti-incumbency factor in the state. After admitting 12 Congress MLAs into the party, TRS leaders will try hard to capture the seat in order to affirm that the Congress and the BJP were no match to them.
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The TRS has never won from this segment since its inception in 2001. The BJP, after winning four Lok Sabha seats, will also leave no stone unturned to exhibit its strength in the bypolls, so as to establish itself as an alternative to TRS.
The three-way contest is sure to generate much political heat in the state, five months after the Lok Sabha polls.
Immediately after the Election Commission announced the schedule for the bypoll to the Huzurnagar Assembly seat, the TRS decided to field S Saidi Reddy as its candidate. Reddy lost in the 2018 elections from the same segment at the hands of Uttam Kumar Reddy.
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The Congress party is planning to field Uttam Kumar’s wife Padmavathi, who was defeated in the Kodad Assembly segment in the 2018 Assembly elections. Thus, both the TRS and the Congress will depend on defeated candidates.
Though the BJP is yet to announce its candidate, sources said the party’s Suryapet district president Sankineni Venakateswara Rao is trying to get the Huzurnagar seat for his son Varun.
Speculation is also rife that Munugode MLA Komatireddy Rajgopal Reddy, who recently met top BJP leaders, is seeking to field his wife Lakshmi as the party’s candidate.
In the 2018 Assembly polls, the TRS candidate lost by over 7,000 votes against the Congress candidate. BJP’s Bobba Bhagya Reddy got only 1,555 votes.
However, the ruling TRS is confident of winning the seat with a huge majority this time. “The TRS lost in Huzurnagar in 2018 because of Uttam Kumar’s false promise that if he won from the seat, he would become the CM. But such a situation does not exist anymore,” TRS candidate Saidi Reddy averred.
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However, Uttam Kumar exuded confidence that the Congress would win with a majority of 30,000 votes. Earlier on Saturday, he launched the party’s campaign in the segment along with former Opposition leader K Jana Reddy. He alleged the TRS gave a ticket to a settler from Andhra Pradesh. “If the TRS candidate wins, the ruling party will indulge in politics with the help of the AP police,” Uttam Kumar alleged.
he TRS, meanwhile, is confident of defeating the “divided Congress”. “The Congress won last time, as our candidate was announced at the last minute. This time, the party announced its candidate first and the voters favour Saidi Reddy,” a TRS leader opined.
True to the assessment of the TRS, PCC working president A Revanth Reddy objected to the unilateral announcement of Padmavathi as the Congress candidate.
Revanth Reddy suggested that PCC spokesperson Chamala Kiran Reddy contest instead. On Saturday, Kiran Reddy too wrote to PCC in-charges RC Khuntia and Saleem Ahmed, expressing his interest in contesting the Huzurnagar bypolls.