Canvassing ends in Telangana, ball now in voters’ court

The BJP intensified its campaign significantly compared to the previous Lok Sabha elections, deploying a host of leaders in Telangana, as part of its southward expansion plans.
With the silence period in force, workers remove a political banner from a DCM vehicle at NTR Stadium in Hyderabad on Saturday
With the silence period in force, workers remove a political banner from a DCM vehicle at NTR Stadium in Hyderabad on Saturday Photo | Sri Loganathan Velmurugan

HYDERABAD: After months of sweat and toil by leaders and cadre, campaigning for the 17 Lok Sabha seats in Telangana drew to a close at 6 pm on Saturday.

Campaigning began on a dull note but picked pace over a month ago, reaching a crescendo in the last 15 days. For the high-stakes battle, all the three major political parties in the state deployed their top leaders, including the prime minister, Union home minister, chief ministers and leaders of Congress and BRS. National leaders, and key figures from the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and the state’s ruling party, engaged in extensive campaigning which culminated in press conferences in Hyderabad.

The BJP intensified its campaign significantly compared to the previous Lok Sabha elections, deploying a host of leaders in Telangana, as part of its southward expansion plans.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi led the charge with nine public meetings, including a roadshow in Malkajgiri, covering 10 Lok Sabha constituencies. Union Home Minister Amit Shah addressed eight public meetings, including a roadshow in Secunderabad and Hyderabad, covering eight Lok Sabha constituencies. BJP national president JP Nadda addressed six public meetings, including a roadshow in Malkajgiri, covering six Lok Sabha constituencies. Other prominent leaders, including Defence Minister Rajnath Singh and chief ministers from various BJP-ruled states, also actively participated in the campaign, addressing multiple meetings and gatherings.

The BJP’s campaign focused on targeting the ruling Congress, accusing it of failing to fulfil promises made during the Assembly elections. Modi and Shah also countered the Congress allegations regarding reservations and changing the Constitution.

The Congress, which is in power in Telangana, also conducted an extensive campaign, deploying its top leaders like AICC president Mallikarjun Kharge, former president Rahul Gandhi and general secretary Priyanka Gandhi. However, the most active campaigner for the Congress remained Chief Minister A Revanth Reddy.

The Congress leaders addressed numerous public meetings and roadshows across several Lok Sabha constituencies, highlighting key issues and challenging the BJP governance over the last 10 years.

While Kharge addressed a press meet and a public meeting in Nakrekal Assembly constituency under Bhongir Lok Sabha seat, Rahul covered six Parliamentary constituencies where he addressed five public meetings. Priyanka addressed two public meetings in Tandur (Chevella LS constituency) and Kamareddy (Zaheerabad LS).

Revanth addressed 57 public meetings, including roadshows and corner meetings in the last 27 days of the campaign. He covered all the 17 Lok Sabha constituencies in the state, and also campaigned for the Congress candidates in Kerala and Karnataka.

The Congress leaders took up sensitive issues and put the BJP in a corner by alleging that the saffron party would scrap reservations and change the Constitution if it returned to power. It apparently hit a nerve since these allegations have become a hot topic being discussed across the country. The Congress devoted ample space to local issues in its campaign, including accusing the BJP of doing nothing for Telangana in the last decade. The grand old party’s “Gadida Guddu’’ campaign was very well received by the public.

The campaign of the BRS, the prime opposition party in Telangana, was ably led by former chief minister K Chandrasekhar Rao who traversed through 13 Lok Sabha constituencies addressing roadshows and public meetings, focusing on issues such as farmers’ loan waivers, power cuts and water scarcity.

BRS working president KT Rama Rao conducted 82 roadshows covering 16 Lok sabha constituencies. Former minister and senior leader T Harish Rao addressed 69 public meetings including roadshows and corner meetings that covered eight Lok Sabha constituencies.

With the campaign having ended, the focus has shifted to ground-level politics and poll management, with parties vying to attract voters on election day. The next two days are expected to witness intense efforts by party candidates and senior leaders to sway voters in their favour, albeit behind closed doors.

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