Statehood issue, personal attacks mark Telangana poll campaign

Statehood issue, personal attacks mark Telangana poll campaign

Statehood issue, personal attacks mark Telangana poll campaign

A bitter campaign for the April 30 elections to 17 Lok Sabha and 119 Assembly seats in Telangana region of Andhra Pradesh came to an end today.

While Telangana (statehood) remained the main campaign theme of all parties, vitriolic personal attacks against rivals by some leaders marked the electioneering in the region that will soon become a new state.

Telangana Rashtra Samiti president K Chandrasekhar Rao led the bunch of leaders in spitting venom at the rivals.

KCR not only criticised leaders of rival parties like Chandrababu Naidu (TDP) and Ponnala Lakshmaiah (Congress), but also specifically targeted people from coastal Andhra and Rayalaseema who have been living in various parts of Telangana for decades now.

KCR's speeches against the Seemaandhra people forced the TDP and other parties to launch a complaint with Election Commission but no action has been taken against him so far.

Telugu film star Pawan Kalyan, who recently launched Jana Sena Party and pledged support to the TDP-BJP alliance, singled out the TRS chief for attack, taking exception to the latter's criticism of BJP's prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi. KCR hit back at Kalyan in the last two days.

With the stakes remaining high for the national parties Congress and BJP in the new state, they roped in their top leaders for campaigning in Telangana.

Narendra Modi took part in BJP's election meetings at Karimnagar and Nizamabad, besides sharing the dais with Chandrababu at Mahbubnagar and Hyderabad.

Kalyan joined the duo in Hyderabad. The film star, youngest brother of Union Minister K Chiranjeevi, also conducted a whirlwind tour of Telangana and campaigned extensively for the TDP-BJP combine.

Congress brought in Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi who addressed public meetings at places like Bhuvanagiri, Karimnagar, Chevella, Medak, Mahbubnagar, Nizamabad, Warangal and Hyderabad.

Union Minister Jairam Ramesh camped in Hyderabad throughout and canvassed for the party in almost every district of Telangana, while his colleague Ghulam Nabi Azad toured a couple of districts where Muslim voters are in sizable numbers.

Though the YSR Congress is also in the election fray in Telangana, its chief Y S Jaganmohan Reddy campaigned only in Hyderabad city on the last day of campaigning, while his younger sister Sharmila visited a couple of districts.