Heading for a photo finish in Telangana

Surveys conducted by the three major parties in the fray point to a straightforward battle between the two national parties in seven constituencies and triangular contests in five to six seats.
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Representative imagePhoto | Express Illustration

HYDERABAD: With just five days left for all political parties to convince citizens why they deserve to represent them in Parliament, campaigning has reached a fever pitch, especially in constituencies where the contest appears to be neck-and-neck.

Various internal surveys conducted by the three major parties in the fray in Telangana — the Congress, BJP and BRS — point to a straightforward battle between the two national parties in seven constituencies and triangular contests in five to six Lok Sabha seats. In the remaining constituencies, one party has a clear edge and is expected to win without much fuss.

Considering the stakes, it’s hardly surprising that all the parties have pulled in their heavyweights to campaign. While the BJP’s campaign is led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Union Home Minister Amit Shah, the Congress top guns like AICC president Mallikarjun Kharge and its star campaigners Rahul and Priyanka Gandhi have been toiling hard. The BRS campaign is led by its supremo K Chandrasekhar Rao and former ministers KT Rama Rao and T Harish Rao.

Sources in both the Congress and BJP said that both the parties are gearing up for a close finish in seven constituencies, with each claiming a slight edge over the other. According to internal surveys, the margin between these two parties stands at 3% to 4% in Adilabad, Nizamabad, Malkajgiri, Chevella, Mahbubnagar, Zaheerabad and Bhongir segments.

Division of votes

The internal surveys point to triangular contests in Secunderabad, Karimnagar, Medak, Warangal, Peddapalli and Nagarkurnool.

In such a scenario, the division of votes will play a crucial role in determining the victor. For instance, in Secunderabad, the Congress hopes to sway voters who supported the BRS in the last Assembly elections but may now favour the grand old party as it is in power in the state. Obviously the BRS is putting in all efforts to maintain its voter base. Meanwhile, the BJP is hoping to build on its traditional vote share by tapping into anti-incumbency sentiment.

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BJP, Congress surveys predict close contest in 7 segments in Telangana

In Medak, intense competition prevails as all three parties are vying for the seat. The BRS has fielded former IAS officer P Venktram Reddy, the Congress nominated Neelam Madhu Mudiraj and the BJP picked former MLA M Raghunandan Rao. While the ruling party fields a candidate from the BC community to appeal to the majority voter base, the BJP is relying on its presence in the constituency and the charisma of Modi. However, Medak is considered a stronghold of the BRS and is represented in the Assembly by KCR and Harish Rao.

Changing scenarios

In Karimnagar, BJP candidate Bandi Sanjay held the edge till about a fortnight ago, but the situation now appears to have changed with the Congress fielding V Rajender Rao. The BRS candidate is B Vinod Kumar. Minister Ponnam Prabhakar is working hard on behalf of the party to win the Karimnagar seat and prove his mettle.

The BRS is doing all it can to win the seat since party working president KT Rama Rao represents Sircilla, which is part of the Lok Sabha seat, in the Assembly.

Likewise, Warangal and Nagarkurnool constituencies are also expected to see a photo finish. In Warangal, Sudheer Kumar (BRS), Kadiyam Kavya (Congress) and Aroori Ramesh (BJP) are in the fray, while former IPS officer RS Praveen Kumar (BRS), former MP Mallu Ravi (Congress) and sitting MP P Ramulu’s son P Bharat (BJP) are facing off in Nagarkurnool.

In Peddapalli too, a triangular contest is expected between BJP’s Gomasa Srinivas, Koppula Eswar of the BRS and Congress’ Gaddam Vamshi Krishna, who is the son of MLA G Vivek Venkataswamy. Though it was initially considered a battle between the Congress and BRS candidates, the scenario changed after sitting MP B Venkatesh Netha joined the saffron party from the Congress. In February this year, Venkatesh had shifted his loyalties from the BRS to the Congress.

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