Chief Minister K Chandrashekhar Rao’s public meeting at Anumula on Wednesday may well prove to be the proverbial last nail in the opposition coffin in the race for the Nagarjuna Sagar Assembly constituency bypoll on April 17.

The TRS, fresh from its victory in the two recent graduates’ MLC elections, went into the Sagar electoral battlefield with renewed vigour and confidence, with the party morale hitting a new high. The ruling party campaign, led by Ministers Talasanai Srinivas Yadav, G Jagadish Reddy and Mohammad Mahmood Ali, among others, has been energising despite the scorching summer sun.

The fight, which most political analysts believe is fast turning out to be a one-sided affair and heavily loaded in favour of the TRS, is being dubbed as a battle between the old guard and spent force in Congress’ K Jana Reddy versus the new and fresh face in Nomula Bhagath Kumar of the ruling party. 

The BJP, which faced dissident trouble in the early days, seems to have virtually given up the battle even before it began evident in the lack-lustre campaign that has not seen the leadership leading from the front.

The TRS’ emergence as the front-runner is not merely a result of some backroom political strategy, but based on concrete work done by the ruling party.

For starters, erstwhile Nalgonda district is no longer the parched, neglected, fluoride-hit zone that it was before State formation. In a matter of just seven years, the district has undergone a sea-change, wearing a lush green look thanks to various irrigation projects, and the fluoride issue fading away into the background on account of the State government’s flagship programme, Mission Bhagiratha bringing pure and safe drinking water to every household.

The district also made significant progress on other fronts with the State government’s proactive measures that include the establishment of a medical college, junior colleges and exclusive markets for lemon and sweet lime, two major horticulture crops that Nalgonda is known for. Nalgonda is also set to join other Tier II cities in IT expansion, with the State government planning to set up an IT Tower soon.

The bypoll was necessitated by the untimely death of Nomula Narasimaiah in December last, and Bhagath, his son, was handed over the mantle to carry on with his legacy of good work and a public-friendly image. Bhagath, a young lawyer, is not exactly a political greenhorn, and is looked upon by the people as the natural successor to the seat.

Much as the Congress would like to claim, Jana Reddy, a seven time legislator from Sagar and a former Minister, has nothing to show by way of development of the constituency during his long tenure, something that the TRS star campaigners have been rightly capitalizing on. The caste dynamics, which many claim plays a key role in elections, does not seem to be an area of concern for the TRS since most sections of society are backing the ruling party.

Given the ground reality, political pundits expect Bhagath to romp home with a comfortable margin of victory.

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