HYDERABAD: The battle lines are drawn for the Dubbaka byelection for which the Election Commission sounded the poll bugle on Tuesday. The TRS is raring to better its 62,600 votes majority to consolidate its grip on the constituency in Siddipet district while the Congress and the BJP are sharpening their weapons in the armoury for the big fight on November 3.
The TRS is already on the gravy train as it has several factors working in its favour. The byelection has been necessitated by the death of incumbent S Ramalinga Reddy. As the ruling party is fielding his widow Sujatha, it is more than likely that a strong sympathy wave would build in her favour.
This apart, the TRS has deployed its master strategist and Finance Minister T Harish Rao to script yet another sensational victory as he did in neighbouring Siddipet, his home constituency.The TRS leaders are never in doubt over the prospects. It is only the question of how much majority they would be able to get. Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao has already set one lakh vote majority as the target for Harish Rao and the latter has been on the job ever since.
Harish Rao has been consolidating the TRS votebank all over the constituencies and making villages adopt resolutions to support only the pink party, a strategy that had paid rich dividends for him in Siddipet. Dubbaka has seven mandals of which two are in Medak district and the rest in Siddipet. It has a high population of BCs and SCs but the dominant caste is indisputably Reddys. That is the reason why both the TRS and the Congress deploy Reddys in the elections. The BJP has been nominating M Raghunandan Rao, who is a Velama, another dominant caste in TS.
Though the TRS is confident of a hands down victory, there are certain issues that rankle the leaders often, like not much visible development having taken place in the constituency. The deterioration in the condition of roads is another factor that is annoying the voters and the most crucial one is the unkept promise of double bedroom houses. Though about 300 houses have been built, none of them have been allotted for fear of a political backlash from those who do not get them.
Interestingly, the date for distribution of Bathukamma sarees were announced by Industries Minister KT Rama Rao hours before the schedule for the byelection has been notified by the Election Commission. This suits the TRS well since EC cannot find fault with it and the scheme might cast a spell on women for whom sarees are very close to their heart. The Congress and the BJP are yet to get their act together. The Congress is considering to field Siddipet DCC president T Narasareddy, who has earned for himself an image of a fighter after contesting against TRS supremo KCR in Gajwel in 2018. The Congress is also considering P Sravan Kumar Reddy for the seat. The party wants to capitalise on the anti-incumbency factor which it believes is working against the TRS government.M Raghunandan Rao, who is likely to be nominated by the BJP for the byelection, is no quitter though he had lost in 2018 Assembly and 2019 Lok Sabha elections.
He, in fact, fought Medak Lok Sabha election too of which Dubbaka is a part. Interestingly he ended second in the number of votes polled in the segment in the election, pipping the Congress nominee. Raghunandan Rao’s supporters have already started a vicious social media campaign against Ramalinga Reddy’s family in the hope of turning the tide in favour of their leader. This apart, they are harping on the compensation paid to Dubbaka farmers, which is less compared to those in Siddipet and Gajwel who were paid more in return for surrendering their land for Mallanna Sagar Project. For TRS, it is matter of just retaining the seat with a better victory margin but for the Congress and the BJP, which are facing an existential crisis, the byelection is a do or die battle.
The TRS has deployed its master strategist T Harish Rao to script yet another sensational victory as he did in Siddipet.