TDP’s entry makes Huzurnagar bypoll multi-cornered contest

Hyderabad: The by-election to Telangana’s Huzurnagar Assembly seat next month is likely to be a multi-cornered contest as the Telugu Desam Party (TDP) announced its candidate for the October 21 poll.

Hoping to revive his party’s fortunes in Telangana, party President N. Chandrababu Naidu decided to field the party candidate in the by-election.

TDP’s Telangana unit President L. Ramna on Sunday announced that Chava Kiranmai will be the party candidate in Huzurnagar. She is party’s Organisation Secretary in the state.

The TDP’s decision is surprising since it had stayed away from Lok Sabha elections earlier this year.

The Huzurnagar bypoll will be the first election to be contested by the TDP in Telangana on its own since December 2018 Assembly elections which it contested in alliance with the Congress.

The four-party alliance, led by the Congress, faced humiliation as it could win just 21 seats in the 119-member Assembly. The TDP had bagged two seats and one of the legislators subsequently defected to the ruling Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS).

After the failed experience, the Congress and the TDP snapped the alliance, though officially they did not make any announcement.

Naidu took the decision to field party candidate for the Huzurnagar by-election after consultation with the party leaders from Nalgonda district.

The leaders impressed upon Naidu the need to contest the election to make the party’s presence felt in the state. They said contesting the polls was necessary to send a message to the party cadre at the grass-root level that the party is still alive and kicking.

“We will give answer to those who ask where is the TDP in Telangana,” senior TDP leader R. Chandrashekhar Reddy said. He is confident that the TDP’s revival in the state will start from Huzurnagar.

The TDP, which had left Huzurnagar for Congress in 2018, had bagged over 25,000 votes and finished fourth in the 2014 elections.

The bypoll in Huzurnagar is necessitated by the resignation of sitting Congress member Uttam Kumar Reddy from the Assembly, following his election to Lok Sabha from Nalgonda constituency in the recent polls.

The Congress has fielded Uttam Kumar Reddy’s wife Padmavathi Reddy. She had lost the Assembly election from Kodad constituency in the same district.

The TRS has named S. Saidi Reddy as its candidate. He lost to Uttam Kumar Reddy in December 2018.

The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) too has decided to enter the fray. Party’s state unit President K. Laxman on Sunday said K. Rama Rao will file his nomination as the party candidate on Monday.

Meanwhile, the TRS leaders called on Communist Party of India state Secretary Chada Venkat Reddy to seek his party’s support for the TRS candidate.

As the Left parties had good support base in the undivided Nalgonda district, TRS leader K. Keshava Rao, G. Vinod and others met the CPI leader and sought his support. Venkat Reddy said his party would soon announced its stand.

The Communist Party of India-Marxist has also decided to contest the by-election while the Telangana Jana Samithi, which had alliance with the Congress, the TDP and the CPI in previous Assembly polls, is likely to take a decision on Monday.

The TRS, which won 88 seats to retain power in December last year, increased its tally to over 100 by luring 15 MLAs, including 12 of the Congress, to join its ranks. It is looking to wrest Huzurnagar from the Congress.

The bypoll is battle of prestige for the Congress as Uttam Kumar Reddy was elected from here three consecutive times. Political analysts say by winning the by-election, the Congress would like to prove that the TRS act of merging its 12 MLAs with the ruling party was unethical.