No election speech of caretaker Chief Minister and Telangana Rashtra Samiti supremo K Chandrasekhar Rao was without highlighting the role he and his party played in the more than a decade-long movement for separate Telangana. He continues to contrast this with the dilly-dallying by then ruling Congress and the disruptive role of the Telugu Desam Party. He is also trying to use the sentiments to question chief minister of neighbouring Andhra Pradesh and TDP president N Chandrababu Naidu’s interfere in Telangana politics. “Will you allow a man to come here who tried every trick to obstruct formation of Telangana state”? he asked, creating apprehensions that if the opposition alliance ‘Praja Kutami’ or People’s Front wins, it will be remote controlled by Rahul Gandhi in New Delhi and Naidu in Amarvati at the cost of Telangana pride.
Sops for farmers:
While the TRS is seeking support from farmers, a dominant force in rural Telangana, citing 24-hours free power supply and schemes such as investment support and free insurance for farmers as its major success, the Congress-TDP alliance is trying to run down its claims. KCR also pointed out in every meeting that his government had fulfilled the promise of waiving Rs200,000 loans of each farmer.
Congress president Rahul Gandhi made frequent reference to suicide by 4,500 farmers during TRS rule due to the distress and for not getting the minimum support price. KCR has promised another loan waiver of Rs100,000 on returning to power benefiting 4.2 million farmers.
Irrigation vs corruption:
While KCR and his Irrigation Minister T Harish Rao had gone to town with their claims of realising the dream of Kaleshwaram lift irrigation project on River Godavari, the Congress party countered saying TRS regime only redesigned an old project, inflating the cost from Rs400 billion to Rs900 billion to benefit his family. In this context, Rahul Gandhi used a nickname for KCR as ‘Khao Commission Rao’ (commission-eating Rao). The party also charged corruption in projects such as Mission Bhagiratha of drinking water supply and Mission Kakatiya of irrigation tanks.
Though separate state was expected to bring economic benefits to locals, many aver that most of TRS contracts were awarded to same contractors from Andhra who ruled the roost in the past.
Unemployment vs Allowance:
Jobs were one of the three pillars of movement for separate Telangana but KCR has failed to provide, turning the youth against his government so much so that he could not dare visit Osmania University, once the hub of the movement.
Now he has promised monthly unemployment allowance of Rs3,016 if he returns to power.
While Congress leaders were questioning TRS performance on job front, K Taraka Rama Rao, son of KCR and the second most powerful man in the government, says the government created 200,000 jobs in private sector every year.
Family rule and nepotism:
For all the leaders of opposition one of the major talking points was the domination of KCR family in the government and the party. “While Telangana youth remain unemployed only KCR family benefited from Telangana state,” said Rahul Gandhi. He also questioned how assets of KCR’s son jumped by 400 per cent in last four years.
While the wide range of welfare schemes and sops of KCR had something for every section of the society, grouses remained. It was a mixed bag. Aarogyasri or scheme of free medical treatment for the poor introduced by YS Rajasekhar Reddy was in the news recently as the private hospital stopped attending to patients because the government had failed to clear their dues of Rs1.2 billion.
While minorities were happy with setting up of more than 100 residential schools for boys and girls, they were bitter that KCR could not deliver on promise of increasing quota from 4 per cent to 12 per cent for them. KCR blamed federal government led by Narendra Modi for it.
Biggest complaint from women was not getting due representation in political process as KCR did not include a single woman in his cabinet. In the rural areas, the grouse was that owomen’s self help groups were completely ignored and were not given any financial assistance.
But KCR projected relatively less crime against women, safe and secure environment as one of his biggest achievements. Constitution of She Teams of police in Hyderabad and other major cities to deal with the issues such as eve teasing and sexual harassment was claimed to as a big success.
Key Constituencies in Telangana:
This is considered top of the list of the high-profile assembly constituencies in Telangana as the caretaker Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao is seeking re-election from the seat in Siddipet district, 70km away from Hyderabad. An interesting fight is on the cards with Vanteru Pratap Reddy of Congress led-People’s Front playing David to the Goliath of TRS. In a three0cornered battle in 2014, KCR had won with a margin of 19,218 votes. His nearest rival, Pratap Reddy, was in TDP while Narsa Reddy was the Congress candidate. Now both the rivals, whose combined vote tally was 101,000 votes, are together in Congress giving the jitters to TRS. KCR is banking on his star appeal as the architect of Telangana state and chief minister and his work to develop the constituency while the united opposition is targeting him with the charge of being inaccessible and arrogant.
The constituency famous as Telangana’s handloom hub with a population of 50,000 weavers is being keenly watched as K Taraka Rama Rao, son of caretaker Chief Minister and TRS supremo K Chandrasekhar Rao, is seeking re-election for third time. His main rival is K K Mahender Reddy of Congress. KTR, 42, who enjoys the status of the second most powerful man in the TRS government and possible heir to his father, clearly has an advantage over his three-time rival. In 2009 Mahender Reddy had lost to him by a mere 171 votes. But in 2014, his victory margin over K Ravinder Rao of Congress was 53,000 votes. While strong Telangana sentiment had helped KTR in the last two elections, he is confident of romping home comfortably on the basis of his performance and star status. He is satisfied with his efforts to bring the loom workers out of the dire straits by extending power subsidy and getting orders for their produce. Congress on the other hand has promised free power to handloom units.
This constituency adjacent to Gajwel has another powerful member of KCR family T Harish Rao, state irrigation minister. Harish Rao, nephew of the chief minister, is facing N Bhavani Reddy of Telangana Jana Samiti and is largely expected to have a cake walk thanks to his work to develop the constituency and his accessibility to all constituents. Harish Rao is seeking election for the sixth time, two being bypolls. Till 2004 KCR was elected six times from this constituency and ever since he moved to Lok Sabha and then to other constituency the seat has been with Harish Rao. In 2014 he won the seat with a margin of more than 93,000 votes.
If the Congress-led People’s Front comes to power in this election, the constituency in Suryapet district could very well be electing a future chief minister. State Congress president Captain N Uttam Kumar Reddy is seeking re-election for the fifth time from here and was facing S Saidi Reddy of TRS, an NRI. Uttam Kumar Reddy briefly served as a minister in N Kiran Kumar Reddy cabinet.
State Congress working president and a firebrand leader, A Revanth Reddy, is seeking re-election for the third time from this constituency in Mahbubnagar district. He had won the seat in 2009 and 2014 as TDP candidate and served as party’s floor leader in assembly as well as the Telangana TDP Working president before joining Congress. Reddy known for his rebellious nature is one of the accused in the cash-for-vote scam in which he allegedly offered bribe to a nominated MLA to vote for TDP in legislative council elections. Recently he was also in the news for Income Tax raid on his house and office. Revanth was also arrested on Tuesday after he gave a call to the people to obstruct Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao’s visit to Kodangal.
TRS was going all out to wrest the seat from him and has fielded Narendar Reddy against him.
It is one of a handful of assembly constituencies in Hyderabad with a sizeable population of Andhra migrants known as settlers. TDP has fielded Nandamuri Suhasini, granddaughter of party founder NT Rama Rao and daughter of N Harikrishna who recently died in a road accident. She is also hal -sister of another Telugu super star NTR Junior. The constituency has seen high profile campaign both from the TDP and the TRS. Madhavaram Krishna Rao of TDP won the seat in 2014 but he later defected to TRS and is seeking re-election on TRS ticket. The TRS is making all efforts to wrest the seat to drive home the point that settler voters were no more with the TDP.
The yhickly populated constituency in the heart of Hyderabad is in focus as state BJP president K Lakshman is seeking re-election from here. His main rival is M Anil Kumar Yadav of Congress. TRS fielded Mutta Gopal but he is lying low amid speculations that the TRS was indirectly extending support to BJP leader.
It is one of the seven seats in Hyderabad won by Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen in 2014. It is the stronghold of MIM where the number two in the organisation, Akbaruddin Owaisi, is seeking re-election for the fifth term. The 48-year-old firebrand leader is expected to romp home comfortably on the basis of his development and welfare work especially in the field of education and health. Congress has fielded a body builder Esa Bin Obaid Misri against him while Syeda Shahzadi is the BJP’s nominee.
Population: 39.64 million
Total Voters: 28,064,684
Total Assembly seats: 119
Total candidates in the fray: 1824
The state was formed on June 2, 2014 through an act of Parliament by bifurcating Andhra Pradesh.