Telangana Elections 2018: Gajwel, Chandrayangutta among key seats that could swing electoral fortunes

FP Staff
The campaign by BJP’s who’s-who including Narendra Modi, Amit Shah and Yogi Adityanath made little impact.

The Telangana Assembly elections have concluded and exit polls have given Telangana Rashtra Samiti the lead. These elections a fierce fight is expected between the Telangana Rashtra Samithi and the Opposition 'mahakutami' alliance. While the TRS is seeking to repeat its performance of the 2014 elections (before the bifurcation of Andhra Pradesh and Telangana), the TDP, Congress, CPI and Telangana Jana Samithi have formed an alliance against the ruling party.  However, the opposition parties have fielded strong candidates to contest in important seats that are TRS bastions like in Gajwel, Sirsilla, Siddipet.

Here are the constituencies which will witness significant battles €"

Gajwel

Gajwel is the Assembly constituency from where Telangana chief minister K Chandrashekar Rao has filed his nomination. The Congress has pitted Vanteru Pratap Reddy against him. During the last elections, Reddy lost the seat to Rao on a TDP ticket. Later, he joined the Congress.

However, KCR's margin of victory (19,366 votes) in the election in 2014 may not have been as large as he may have hoped, as Reddy garnered a substantial 67,303 votes. With the Congress and TDP in an alliance, the chief minister's battle to win his constituency may not be an easy one.

Another factor that can work against KCR is him not having spent much time in the constituency. According to a recent report in The Times of India, KCR, while addressing party members from across Gajwel at Erravelli, said, "I will allocate more time for Gajwel in my next term."

Moreover, several TRS leaders from Gajwel joined the Congress in October. KCR, however, remains confident about his government's development work and welfare projects.

Khanapur

Out of the ten constituencies in Adilabad district, the TRS had won seven seats in 2014. Khanapur, the largest of the ten constituencies will witness a three-way contest in the 7 December elections. It is also ones of the places where the long-brewing Adivasi-Lambada conflict is likely to impact the results of the election.

Khanapur will witness a battle between three key candidates €" sitting TRS legislator Ajmeera Rekha, BJP leader Satla Ashok and Congress' Ramesh Rathod. Apart from them, Ajmeera Hari Naik (BSP) and Thodasam Bhim Rao (CPM) are also in the contest.

The Adivasis have openly declared support to the BJP candidate after the Congress fielded a Lambada candidate, despite protests.

One of the major demands that the residents of the constituency have raised is the establishment of tribal universities. Earlier, the Union government had proposed the establishment of two such universities €" one in Utnoor, Telangana and the other in Paderu, Andhra Pradesh, as reported by The New Indian Express.

According to the 2011 Census, Telangana had 22 lakh Lambadas and 9.5 lakh Adivasis.

Sircilla

Kalvakuntla Taraka Rama Rao, popularly referred to as KTR, is a three-time MLA from Sircilla. In 2014, KTR garnered 92,135 votes, far ahead of rival candidate K Ravinder Rao, who got 39,131 votes. KTR is the son of Telangana chief minister and TRS chief K Chandrashekar Rao.

Apart from KTR, the other key contestants are Mallagari Narsa Goud of BJP and KK Mahender Reddy of Congress.

The TRS' free saree distribution scheme can earn it dividends in this constituency, as it had greatly benefited weavers. The scheme had helped overcome the scourge of suicides and improve their earnings, and the weavers fear that if the TRS fails to retain power, the scheme may be scrapped.

In 2017, the TRS government, under the scheme, placed orders for one crore sarees, which were distributed among women through ration shops. This year, the ruling party has planned to distribute 95 lakh sarees and placed orders of production.

KTR has been dividing his time between his own constituency of Sircilla and Hyderabad, where has been extensively campaigning for the TRS.

Chandrayangutta

In 2014, the All India Majlis-e-Ittehad-ul Muslimeen (AIMIM) had won seven seats out of 15 in Hyderabad, the most by any party in the city. The TRS, on the other hand, had won from just one constituency €" Secunderabad.

Akbaruddin Owaisi €" AIMIM leader and younger brother of party chief Asaduddin Owaisi €" has been elected as an MLAs four times in a row from the Chandrayangutta constituency. The first time that he was elected from the constituency was in 1999.

Owaisi, known to be a firebrand leader, was also been booked for hate speech after he allegedly used inflammatory and derogatory language against a community during his public speeches in December 2012.

In the 2014 elections, Dr Khayam Khan, the then leader of the AIMIM's traditional political rival Majlis Bachao Tehreek (MBT), had emerged at second place. However, the difference in the votes garnered by Owaisi and Khan was a large one €" at 59,274. Khayam Khan died of a heart attack in 2016. This time, the MBT has put up Syed Mustafa Mehmood as its candidate.

Incumbent MLA Owaisi also faces a challenge from two debutants €" the Congress' Esa bin Obaid Misri and the BJP's Syed Shahzadi. Misri, a former Mr Universe silver medallist, is the first Muslim candidate nominated by the Congress in the constituency since 1985. Shahzadi was a leader of the Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP). Speaking to PTI, she said that there has been no improvement in the condition of the constituency, although the AIMIM has been elected for the past two decades.

Serlingampally

Serlingampally is one of the richest constituencies in Ranga Reddy district, and IT giants like Google, Deloitte, Oracle and Infosys are located there. As a number of people from outside the state have settled there, the conflict between locals and migrants may play a part in the political scenario in the constituency, as stated by The News Minute.

Although, the place is touted as one of the fastest growing areas in Hyderabad city, citizens have been very vocal about several civic problems.

In the last election, Arekapudi Gandhi won the Serlingampally seat on a TDP ticket with 1,29,796 votes against TRS candidate Komaragoni Shanker Goud, who was the runner-up with 53, 539 votes.

With inputs from PTI

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