HYDERABAD: The outcome of the byelection to Huzurnagar Assembly seat, slated for October 21, will set all speculation to rest as to which way the wind is blowing.
The TRS juggernaut has slowed down a bit after its scorching victory in Assembly elections in 2018 when it bagged 88 of the 119 seats. But by the time Lok Sabha elections arrived, its graph has nosedived. It had won only nine seats though it wanted to corner 16 of the 17 seats (Hyderabad was left for MIM).
If the pink panthers wrest Huzurnagar from Congress, it would go out to prove that the party’s fortunes are once again on the ascendency. But it is easier said than done as Huzurnagar is Congress, or to be more specific PCC president N Uttam Kumar Reddy’s citadel.
After the creation of Huzurnagar Assembly constituency in 2009, he won all the three elections in 2009, 2014 and 2018. Earlier, he won from Kodad in 1999 and 2004. The seat has now fallen vacant following Uttam Kumar Reddy’s election to Lok Sabha from Nalgonda. Now he wants to field his wife Padmavathi, who lost the election in Kodad in 2018, though there are voices in the Congress opposing her candidature.
For Congress, winning the seat is important to lift the sagging morale of the party workers after the humiliating defeat it had suffered in the Assembly elections. Though it had improved its position by winning three seats in the Lok Sabha election, the party has not yet gained any momentum. If the Congress wins Huzurnagar, it might give a push that it is desperately in need of.
But the TRS is determined to win the seat. KCR has announced S Saidi Reddy as the candidate for the byelection, Congress is yet to finalise its candidate. In 2018, the TRS announced Saidi Reddy’s name very late which to some extent helped the Congress steal a march over him. But this time the situation is the other way around.
TRS is planning its poll strategy very meticulously. Come hell or high water, the party wants to win the seat and send out a message loud and clear that even in Congress strongholds, it is the TRS which calls the shots.
The Congress is eyeing the support of CPM which has got more than 2,000 votes in the last election and that of the TDP, CPI and TJS. Though the BJP is not much of a force in the constituency if Modi wave works, the candidate, whoever it might be, could rake in a respectable number of votes. The BJP knife could cut way, it might divide the Congress as well as TRS votes. The TRS is also wondering if YSRC could help its candidate. In 2014, YSRC polled a sizeable number of votes - about 30,000 and as YSRC and TRS are on good terms, the then YSRC candidate Gattu Srikanth Reddy could revive his votes, if they still exist, in favour of the TRS.