Telangana polls: BJP’s Rajender faces an uphill task in both seats
Since Rajender is fighting against KCR in Gajwel, he is paying much attention there, he is not able to focus his energies in Huzurabad.
Sailing on two boats at a time is no easy task, goes the saying.
Former minister and senior Bharatiya Janata Party lawmaker Eatala Rajender is facing this peculiar situation in the assembly elections in Telangana, scheduled on November 30.
Rajender is one of the three candidates, who have chosen to contest from two different seats – the other two being – Bharat Rashtra Samithi president and chief minister K Chandrasekhar Rao (KCR) and Telangana Pradesh Congress Committee president A Revanth Reddy.
While KCR is contesting from Kamareddy, apart from his original constituency Gajwel, Revanth Reddy is fighting against him in Kamareddy, besides his original constituency Kodangal. Rajender is taking on KCR at Gajwel, while fighting for retaining his actual seat at Huzurabad.
Among these three leaders, it is Rajender who is waging the toughest battle in the sense that he doesn’t have much back up from his party – the BJP, in both the constituencies he is fighting – Gajwel as well as Huzurabad, as it has no organisational network.
“He is banking purely on his personal image and the popularity he had gained during the movement for separate Telangana state. The good work he has done in the constituency in the last 10 years, has fetched him a lot of goodwill,” said B Ram Reddy, a retired headmaster from Huzurabad.
But since Rajender is fighting against KCR in Gajwel, he is paying much attention there, he is not able to focus his energies in Huzurabad. It is this sailing in two boats simultaneously that is posing a tricky situation for Rajender in Huzurabad.
Since the BJP doesn’t have much cadre strength in Huzurabad, Rajender is banking on his relatives and friends. His wife Eatala Jamuna is leading the campaign from the front to ensure that his absence is not felt in the constituency.
“Yet, there is a general feeling among the people of Huzurabad that Rajender has taken them for granted and neglected the constituency. In fact, after his victory in the November 2021 by-elections in the constituency on the BJP ticket, he has become inaccessible to the people. He has given himself a larger-than-life size image, thinking that if the BJP comes to power, he will become the chief minister of Telangana,” said S Ravinder Babu, who runs a tea stall in Huzurabad town.
The BRS leadership has fielded Rajender’s arch rival Padi Kaushik Reddy as the party candidate in Huzurabad. In the 2018 assembly elections, Kaushik Reddy contested on the Congress ticket against Rajender but lost by a huge margin of 49,719 votes.
After Rajender was shunted out of the BRS (then TRS) in June 2021, Kaushik Reddy joined the BRS. In the by-elections to the Huzurabad seat in November 2021, the party fielded a local leader Gellu Srinivasa Yadav, but Rajender retained the seat with a reduced margin of 23,855 votes.
Now, Kaushik Reddy, a cash-rich candidate is going all out to defeat Rajender in the next week’s elections. “Since his name was cleared by KCR long ago, he has been nurturing the constituency for the last two years, spending huge amounts of money on various welfare schemes and developmental works with the support of the government,” Babu said.
Admitting that the fight is tough, Rajender’s elder brother Eatala Sammanna said while Kaushik Reddy is depending on money power, Rajender has the support of OBCs, particularly his own Mudiraj community. “His good work in the past will help him win again,” Sammanna said.
The Congress has fielded Vodithela Pranav, grandson of former Rajya Sabha member Vodithela Rajeshwar Rao, who happened to be a close relative of former Prime Minister P V Narasimha Rao.
A relatively inexperienced politician, Pranav is banking on the strong Congress party network in the constituency, besides his grandfather’s legacy and the image of P V Narasimha Rao. “Besides, he has the support of the Reddy community, which is hell bent on defeating the BRS, though Kaushik Reddy also hails from the same community and also the Brahmin community to which Pranav belongs,” said Sadanandam, a retired state government employee.
However, it is largely seen as a battle between Rajender and Kaushik Reddy and is all set for a photo finish.
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