Hyderabad: The Telangana Congress is likely to decide on its candidate for the upcoming Huzurabad bypoll today. It has been learnt that senior party leader Konda Surekha and National Students Union of India (NSUI) Telangana president Balmoor Venkat are being considered to be given the ticket.
Moreover, the by-election will also be a litmus test for newly appointed Telangana Pradesh Congress Committee (TPCC) president and Malkajgiri Lok Sabha A. Revanth Reddy, who will be handling his first ever poll after taking over the reins of the grand old party earlier this year. A senior Congress leader who did not want to be named said that Balmoor is also being considered given his background.
The NSUI state president has his roots close to Huzurabad, and is likely being considered to counter the ruling Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) whose candidate is Gellu Srinivas Yadav, student leader and native of Huzurabad. On Friday, Srinivas Yadav filed his nomination for the Huzurabad bypoll.
Earlier, senior Congress leader Konda Surekha’s name was also doing rounds, but there was no confirmation. While the grand old party has been more active ever since Revanth Reddy took over, there is a section of leaders who are unhappy with him at the helm.
When contacted by Siasat.com, Venkat said, “I am being considered, but there is no confirmation yet. I will abide by whatever the party will decide.” The NSUI state president has been active in Hyderabad, and has been leading student protests on various issues. He has also filed a public interest litigation against the Telangana government’s decision to conduct offline exams for college students.
“There is a strong SC and youth vote bank in Huzurabad. Congress has not been a strong force in that Huzurabad region. So now is the time to play the caste and youth card. Comparatively, the TRS also has put up a younger person. Any party which wants to be revived needs fresh faces. The Congress does not have great stakes, and even if the person loses here it won’t be a major issue for the party,” said political analyst Palwai Raghavendra Reddy.
In the upcoming Huzurabad bypoll that will be held on October 30, the main fight is between the ruling Telangana Rashtra Samithi and former TRS health minister Eatala Rajender, who was sacked from the state cabinet by chief minister K. Chandrasekhar Rao (KCR) over land-grabbing charges in May. Eatala resigned as an MLA and then joined the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in June this year.
Moreover, the TRS is leaving no stone unturned for the upcoming Huzurabad by-election. Through the Dalit Bandhu scheme (under which eligible beneficiaries get Rs. 10 lakh), it will hope to draw a chunk of the SC vote share. The ruling party’s candidate, Gellu Srinivas Yadav, a Backward Classes (BC) leader, also shows that KCR does not want to upset the BC community which comprises over 50% of the state’s population (Eatala also belongs to it).
In the 2018 Telangana Assembly polls, Rajender secured 104469 votes, with Congress candidate P. Kaushik Reddy getting 60604 votes. The BJP’s Raghu Puppala got a paltry 1670 votes. In the 2018 state elections, the BJP also won just one out of 119 seats.
As things stand now, Kaushik Reddy, who was in a good position to even win the Huzurabad seat, switched sides to the TRS few weeks ago. It was something that political pundits expected. Kaushik, who was perhaps expecting to be given a TRS ticket, is now being accommodated into the state Legislative Council. His nomination however is still pending as governor Tamilisai Soundararajan has not cleared it yet.
(Anjana Meenakshi also contributed to this report)