Huzurabad bypoll: KCR's might to be tested

Huzurabad bypoll: KCR's might versus former lieutenant's long association

Huzurabad with 2.37 lakh voters has a considerable share of Scheduled Caste voters

The Saturday bypoll in Huzurabad would test if voters would remain loyal to former health minister Eatala Rajender, now a BJP candidate, or side with the TRS, the party he had represented in the state assembly elected from here four times.

The constituency in north Telangana fell vacant in June after Eatala resigned from the TRS and also the assembly membership, following charges of land grabbing and a probe initiated into the same by the K Chandrasekhar Rao government.

Also Read | 20 years of TRS: KCR's journey from 'lets shut shop' to 'receiving invites to form party in Andhra'

Faced with the combination of the "vengeful" senior leader and an emerging BJP, CM Rao had even brought in Dalit-Bandhu, an ambitious scheme providing Rs 10 lakh financial support for Dalit families. Ahead of the polls schedule announcement, the scheme was launched in Huzurabad as a pilot for the state-wide rollout later.

Huzurabad with 2.37 lakh voters has a considerable share of Scheduled Caste voters. However, the scheme intended for one community, the TRS leaders fear, could alienate votes of more populous groups like the Backward Castes, to which Eatala belongs.

The TRS's candidate is the party's student wing leader Gellu Srinivas Yadav, who is also from the BC community.

Also Read | KCR to convene all-party meeting to resolve Podu cultivation issue in Telangana

While the TRS and BJP are engaged in a fierce contest, the Congress party appears to have fallen back and is accusing both the parties of large scale violations of the election model code.

"The whole Telangana government is overtly engaged in the by-poll campaign and resorting to unashamed abuse of official machinery, to get an upper hand for the TRS candidate. When CM KCR sensed that even 'Dalit Bandhu' might not work, he has ordered his ministers and MLAs to pull all stops in Huzurabad. Even BJP is using all its political might and money power for votes,” alleged Congress spokesperson Dr Dasoju Sravan while accusing ECI officials in Telangana “of turning a blind eye to the irregularities in Huzurabad.”

Badvel, an SC reserved constituency, in Andhra Pradesh would also vote on Saturday but is expected to reelect YSRCP.

Also Read | TRS plenary on Oct 25; KCR set to emerge party president unopposed

By-poll here is because of the death of YSRCP sitting MLA Dr Venkata Subbaiah in March due to illness.

The main opposition TDP has kept away from the contest as the YSRCP candidate is the late legislator's widow Dr Sudha. The BJP is in the fray, which analysts say is to test its standing in CM Jaganmohan Reddy's home-turf Kadapa district.

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