The canvassing for elections to graduates constituencies of Legislative Council representing two clusters of districts, Hyderabad – Rangareddy – Mahbubnagar and Khammam – Warangal – Nalgonda, came to an end on Friday amid fierce charges and counter charges by contesting parties and independents.
As many as 93 candidates are in the fray for Hyderabad – Rangareddy – Mahbubnagar and 71 in Khammam – Warangal – Nalgonda which has resulted in printing of jumbo size ballot papers. The number of voters in both constituencies also far exceeded their average strength in Assembly constituencies, making it a prestigious fight.
The election with graduate voters will be held in 43 Assembly constituencies of Hyderabad – Rangareddy – Mahbubnagar and 33 in Khammam – Warangal – Nalgonda. The BJP and TRS had gone all out to retain their seats in the two seats respectively by focussing mainly on issues confronting the educated youth and intelligentsia.
The TRS fielded former Prime Minister P.V. Narasimha Rao’s daughter Vani Devi who is herself an educationist. The party kicked off a furore in political circles by claiming that the government had created 1.32 lakh jobs in its seven-year rule. This led to challenges by rival parties, so much so the BJP candidate N. Ramchander Rao invited TRS working president K.T. Rama Rao for a debate on Osmania University campus which never took place.
As the rival parties cried foul about the figures, Mr. Rao recalled how the Prime Minister Narendra Modi called the bluff promising creation of two crore jobs every year. The TRS also cornered the BJP on withdrawal of Information Technology Investiment Region from Hyderabad and the privatisation plans of PSUs, including Visakhapatnam Steel Plant. The spiralling petrol, diesel and cooking gas prices were also highlighted by the party in the campaign.
The contest in both constituencies assumed significance due to the presence of a large number of independents. Apart from TRS and BJP, the Congress, Left and Prof Kodandaram led Telangana Jana Samiti parties are also contesting. The TRS carried out an intensive campaign appointing an in-charge for every 100 voters. All its Ministers and MLAs carried out whirlwind tours in their assigned segments as they held meetings with voters in function halls. Mr. Rama Rao and another Minsiter T. Harish Rao regularly monitored the work of in-charges by teleconferences.
Chief Minister K. Chandrasekhar Rao held a meeting with employees unions to address their grievances. A leak that the government will give a 29% fitment in the pay scales of employees was a comforting news to them. However, a Minister V. Srinivas Goud rubbed the voters on the wrong side saying “God will not forgive you if you don’t vote for TRS”. The TRS leaders immediately got down to trouble shooting.