Nagarjunasagar bypoll: As BJP still searches for face, Cong’s Jana Reddy keeps mum

Hyderabad: The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in Telangana is keeping its cards to its chest, and will wait for the ruling Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) to announce its candidate for the upcoming Nagarjunasagar by-election. However, the fact of the matter is that the BJP as of now does not have a strong candidate, unlike in the previous Dubbaka by-poll, wherein it snatched pulled-off a victory against the ruling Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS).

So far, all eyes have been on senior Congress leader and former state cabinet minister K. Jana Reddy, as rumours had been floating that he was likely to jump ship either to the TRS or the BJP. However, just when the dust seemed settled, that he was likely to stick with the grand old party, Jana Reddy told party leaders a few weeks ago that he would instead let one of his sons fight it out instead of himself entering the fray. 

“We were never trying to pull him, but it is (Telangana chief minister and TRS supremo K. Chandrasekhar Rao) KCR’s game and he (Jana Reddy) has worked out a deal with the TRS. We are actually waiting for the TRS to announce its candidate. There is an assurance from KCR (on the alleged deal,” said Krishna Saagar Rao, BJP’s chief spokesperson from Telangana.

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A senior Congress leader, who did not want to be quoted, told siasat.com that it is still unclear whether the six-time MLA (Jana Reddy) or his son will contest. While the TRS’s Nomula Narsimhaiah had won the 2018 Nagarjuna bye-election, his party may reconsider fielding one of his kin given that the the same tact did not work in the Dubbaka bye-poll, wherein TRS’s Solipeta Sujata lost to BJP’s Raghunandan Rao by over 1000 votes. 

Though the BJP is hoping to repeat its performance like it did in the Dubbaka bye-poll last year, analysts believe that the saffron party does not actually have a strong candidate. Another BJP leader, who did not want to be quoted, said that a final decision on the bye-poll candidate will only be taken by a committee which will finalise the name. Actress Vijay Shanti’s name has also been doing rounds as a BJP contender, but it is still uncertain. 

In the Dubbaka by-poll held last year, BJP’s Raghunandan Rao won the nail-biting election by over 1,000 votes. The TRS was shocked, as it had expected a comfortable win, given that the Dubbaka seat falls in Medak district, and is also in close proximity with the Gajwel seat, represented by chief minister KCR. In the 2018 elections, the TRS won 88 seats, while the Congress, Telugu Desam Party 2, and the BJP bagged 19, 2 and one seat respectively. 

Since then, 12 Congress MLAs defected to the TRS. While the Congress has always been considered the main opposition, the recent win by the BJP in Dubbaka, and a stellar performance in the Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation (GHMC) is making it clear the saffron party is in fact gaining ground. Whether it will replace the Congress or not is yet to be seen. 

“What do they have in villages? They don’t have any members of strong faces outside of Hyderabad. The party will take a decision at the correct time,” a senior TRS leader told siasat.com when asked about the upcoming bye-election. In the 2018 election, Nomula Narsimhaiah secured 83,655 votes against Jana Reddy, who got 75,884 votes. BJP’s candidate Nivedita reddy’s came fourth place, with her numbers being 2,675 only

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