The race for the Nagarjuna Sagar Assembly seat seems to be heating up in the run-up to the by-election for the same next month.
After failing to secure even a single seat in the recently-concluded MLC elections
in the graduates' constituencies of Warangal-Nalgonda-Khammam and Hyderabad-Mahabubnagar-Rangareddy, winning the by-election has become a matter of prestige for the Congress. The party has decided to field veteran leader and former minister K Jana Reddy from the seat.
However, neither the TRS nor the BJP has revealed its candidates for the election yet. Each is waiting to do so after the other's announcement.
There are reportedly many in the saffron party, including leaders Anjaiah Yadav, Nivedita Reddy, Indrasena Reddy and Ravi Naik, who are hoping to get the ticket. To ease the process of choosing a candidate, BJP state head Bandi Sanjay Kumar is currently holding discussions with the hopefuls to adjudge who will be the best bet.
The TRS too is in the midst of shortlisting a candidate for the seat. Sources say that it is likely that the party will field a BC candidate from the Yadav community - Yadav leaders Ranjith Yadav, Guruvaiah Yadav and Doodimetla Balaraju Yadav are said to be among those vying for the ticket. The son of the former MLA of the constituency Nomula Bhagat may also get the chance to fight for his father's erstwhile seat.
Since unhappiness with the TRS high command's choice may lead to defections, party supremo and Chief Minister, K Chandrashekar Rao, is in the process of holding discussions with various senior leaders like G Jagadish Reddy and state Legislative Council Chairman G Sukhender Reddy on the matter.
Reports say that the ruling party is intentionally delaying the announcement since this will allow it to prevent rebel leaders from filing nominations and will also prevent other parties from poaching disgruntled leaders.
Despite its silence on the name of its candidate, however, the pink party has continued to campaign vigorously for the seat, and has held several meetings in the region, including a massive one at Halia. TRS General Secretary T Ravinder Rao has been at the forefront of the campaign, and has been wooing voters for the last three months.
The fight for the seat is bound to be an interesting one especially since there are widespread speculations that the YSR Congress Party will also try its luck in the April election.
Meanwhile, the Election Commission of India is watching over the proceedings with eagle eyes. It recently said that each candidate would be allowed to spend no more than Rs 30.80 lakh on election-related matters.
The candidates of the political parties in the state will have to woo 2.17 lakh voters from the Yadavalli, Lambada, Reddy, Madiga, Mala, Mudiraj, Muslim, Munnurkapu, Gouda and Rajaka communities in order to secure the seat.
March 23 was the first day for the filing of nominations. Candidates will be allowed to file their papers till March 30.