After a shrill campaign, stage set for bypoll in Dubbak Assembly segment

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Hyderabad, Nov 2 (PTI) The stage is set for polling on Tuesday in Telangana's Dubbak Assembly by-election which has witnessed a shrill campaign marredby war of words between the ruling TRS and opposition BJP over allegations of money being seized from the candidate of the latter.

Polling is scheduled to take place in Dubbak (in Siddipet district), around 100 kms from Hyderabad, from 7 AM to 6 PM at 315 polling stations and the administration has made arrangements in compliance with COVID-19 norms, besides tight security measures.

Though 20 others are also in the fray, the main contest is among the candidates of the TRS, BJP and Congress.

The bypoll is necessitated by the death of sitting TRS MLA Solipeta Ramalinga Reddy due to health problems in August this year and the TRS has fielded his widow Solipeta Sujatha as its candidate.

The TRS is hopeful of the sympathy factor helping its nominee.

The TRS campaign has been steered by state Finance Minister T Harish Rao, who represents Siddipet in the Legislative Assembly, a seasoned leader.

Harish Rao, a nephew of Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao, began touring the constituency even before the announcement of the election schedule.

While highlighting social security pensions, 'Rythu Bandhu' investment support scheme for farmers and other welfare programmes of the TRS government, Harish Rao has attacked the BJPover the NDA government's reported proposals to instal meters for agricultural pump sets and to import maize, among other issues.

The proposal to instal meters would adversely affect farmers as they get free power from the state government, he alleged.

The Congress has given ticket to TRS leader Cheruku Srinivas Reddy who joined the party just ahead of the bypoll.

Congress is banking on the goodwill of Srinivas Reddy's late father Mutyam Reddy, a former minister.

State Congress president N Uttam Kumar Reddy and several other senior leaders of the party have been camping in Dubbak, canvassing in support of Srinivas Reddy.

The BJP, meanwhile, has fielded M Raghunandan Rao who lost in Dubbak in the previous Assembly elections.

The party hopes to capitalise on the popularity of Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

BJP has sought to highlight that Dubbak remained backward though its neighbouring Siddipet (represented by Harish Rao) and Gajwel (represented by Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao) have witnessed rapid development.

Union MoS (Home) G Kishan Reddy, state BJP president and MP Bandi Sanjay Kumar and other party leaders campaigned in Dubbak in support of the party nominee.

In the run up to polling, high drama was witnessed on October 26 when police seized Rs 18.67 lakh in cash at Siddipet from the house of a relative of the BJP candidate.

However, Rs 12.8 lakh out of the seized money was snatched away allegedly by some supporters of the BJP candidate.

The BJP, however, dismissed the allegations against it.

On Sunday, an illegal money transfer racket was busted here and Rs one crore 'unaccounted' cash was seized from a relative of the BJP candidate Raghunandan Rao.

Acting on credible information, two people, including Surabhi Srinivas Rao, the brother-in-law of the BJP candidate were nabbed in Begumpet area while they were transporting the money in a vehicle, meant to be distributed to voters, Hyderabad Commissioner of Police Anjani Kumar told reporters on Sunday.

Also on Sunday, a BJP worker set himself on fire outside the party's Telangana unit office here to protest the 'detention' of state party chief Bandi Sanjay Kumar recently.

Reacting to the incident, TRS working president K T Rama Rao alleged the saffron party was hatching a conspiracy to foment trouble in the state capital ahead of the November 3 by-poll to the Dubbak Assembly seat.

However, responding to Rama Rao's statements, the BJP called them 'unwarranted' and 'irresponsible.' It also charged Rama Rao with 'intimidating' BJP leaders and workers.

The total number of voters in Dubbak assembly constituency is 1,98,756, which includes 1,00,778female voters and 97,978 male voters.

The outcome of the Dubbakbypoll would give the winner an edge in the coming Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation (GHMC) elections.

The TRS enjoys a massive strength of 100 in the 120- member Assembly.PTI SJR COR SS PTI PTI