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The battle lines have been drawn for the Nagarjuna Sagar by-poll with candidates of all the major political parties filing their nominations on Tuesday. While the ruling TRS is leaving no stone unturned to retain the seat, the Congress is in a ‘do or die’ battle even as BJP was busy with dissidence after multiple aspirants threatening to leave the party or contest as rebels.

The by-election to Nagarjuna Sagar Assembly constituency was necessitated following the sudden demise of TRS MLA Nomula Narasimhaiah who had left his mark in erstwhile Nalgonda district as a leader of masses and weaker sections. The filing of nominations concluded on Tuesday and the polling is scheduled to be held on April 17. The counting of votes would be held on May 2.

The TRS has fielded Narasimhaiah’s son Bhagath Kumar, who is a practicing advocate in the Telangana State High Court, and has been an active member of the party since 2014. Bhagath is well-known among the people of Nagarjuna Sagar constituency as he also worked for his father Narasimhaiah during the Assembly elections in 2014 and 2018. Following Narasimhaiah’s death, his name was at the forefront among the party cadre.

Though a couple of other leaders like Koti Reddy and MLC Tera Chinnapa Reddy too aspired for the party ticket, Chief Minister and TRS president K Chandrashekhar Rao himself stepped in and spoke to all the party leaders on the importance of fielding Bhagath from the constituency as a true tribute to late Narasimhaiah.

Sources said both Koti Reddy and Chinnapa Reddy were promised due recognition in future for their services to the party. Chandrashekhar Rao is also said to have assured to address a public meeting, while TRS working president and Minister KT Rama Rao is also likely to campaign for Bhagath.

Further, the TRS president had finalised the poll strategy and will be overseeing the campaigning from Hyderabad. Energy Minister G Jagadish Reddy has been deployed as the party in-charge for the elections and he will be duly supported by second time MLC Palla Rajeshwar Reddy as well as several other legislators. 

A large number of Ministers and other legislators are also being deployed to the Nagarjuna Sagar bypolls such that they reach out to every household as part of their door-to-door constituency.

Due to shortage of time ahead of polling on April 17, the party leaders were instructed to visit all the voters personally and canvas for the party candidate. The party is also approaching about 1.5 lakh beneficiaries of different government schemes in the constituency.

On the other hand, Congress is banking on its old warhorse K Jana Reddy who filed his nomination for the 11th time in his political career. Of the 10 times earlier, Jana Reddy won the Nagarjuna Sagar constituency seven times and lost three. The party leaders have already started campaigning immediately after Jana Reddy’s candidature was finalised, but their poll campaign has been receiving a lukewarm response from the public. 

The elections have become crucial for the Congress party’s survival in the State as losing the bypoll with Jana Reddy as its candidate, could sound the death knell to the party as well as Jana Reddy.

Meanwhile, the BJP is busy with its own internal bickering. On the first day of nominations itself, BJP leader K Niveditha Reddy who contested the 2018 elections, filed her nomination papers. Another BJP leader Anjaiah Yadav who has a good hold over the region too has been seeking the party ticket. However, the BJP proposed the candidature of former government surgeon Dr Ravi Kumar. Anjaiah Yadav had joined TRS in the presence of Chief Minister K Chandrashekhar Rao on Tuesday and pledged his support to Bhagath.

Niveditha Reddy is also learnt to be planning to quit the BJP, but the party leadership is learnt to be making no attempt to convince her to support the party candidate. The BJP has no considerable vote bank in the constituency as it polled only 2,675 votes in the 2018 elections and has now fielded Ravi Kumar hoping to win the vote bank of STs.




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