Telangana Assembly polls: KCR faces 43 in Gajwel, 38 in Kamareddy

After withdrawal of nominations, parties set out to woo voters in last phase of campaigning
File image of BRS supremo K Chandrasekhar Rao.
File image of BRS supremo K Chandrasekhar Rao.

HYDERABAD: By the evening of Wednesday, some clarity emerged on the contestants in the fray as rebel and independent candidates withdrew their nominations on the last day to do so. In Gajwel alone, 70 candidates withdrew their nominations, leaving a total of 44 people, including BRS supremo and Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao and BJP’s Eatala Rajender and T Narsa Reddy of the Congress in the fray.

In Kamareddy, 39 candidates, including KCR, TPCC chief A Revanth Reddy and K Venkata Ramana Reddy of the BJP, remained in the fray after 19 candidates withdrew from the race.In Medchal, where 67 nominations were deemed valid after scrutiny, 45 contestants withdrew their nominations, leaving a total of 22 candidates in the fray, including Minister Ch Malla Reddy.

However, the final list of candidates left in the fray is expected by Thursday, Telangana election officials told TNIE. With only 13 days left for campaigning and 15 days for voters to exercise their franchise, candidates are gearing up for perhaps the most crucial phase of the elections.

All the major parties in contention for power are now gearing up for a rigorous and aggressive campaign and have started mobilising teams. They are focusing on booth-level management as every vote is considered crucial.

While candidates are fully occupied with campaign activities, second-rung leaders and dedicated party workers are reaching out to villages and tandas to convince the voters why they should opt for their party.
Political analysts expect the coming election to be very close, with the margin of victory to be between 1,000 and 2,000 votes.

Naturally, tensions are running high as parties like the BRS and Congress are changing their strategy according to the ground situation and leaving no stone unturned to secure every possible vote.
In the midst of this, first-time candidates are struggling to effectively handle booth-level committees, allocate campaign funds and manage second-rung leaders. Those who had contested earlier are better placed to avoid pitfalls this time around.

The BRS has established war rooms in each Assembly constituency, reaching out to voters with information on government schemes and also to beneficiaries of the Chief Minister’s Relief Fund. Voters receive calls from the war room, and in case of any negative feedback, local leaders convince them to cast their votes in favour of the BRS.

Likewise, the Congress is leaving no stone unturned as it seeks to storm to power in the state. Party candidates are tapping the reach of social media, making calls, sending bulk messages, paying for TV advertisements and also distributing the party’s six guarantee cards. Village-level activists use these cards to record voter names and meet people in person to persuade them to support the Congress.

After campaign hours, the discussions veer to the action that is mostly witnessed during the last three days. This includes the distribution of money, gifts, liquor and throwing parties — arguably the most impactful aspect of elections.

Political analysts say that while money and liquor may influence 3% to 5% of voters, the ground sentiment plays a crucial role. If the electorate is disinterested, monetary incentives may not guarantee votes, and voters may exercise their franchise based on their mood. In a contest as close as this one is predicted to be, that is most crucial.

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The New Indian Express