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Telangana polls: TRS eyes Seemandhra opportunities

Seemandhra parties like YSRCP and Jana Sena are working in favour of TRS as large chunks of their supporters are expected to vote for the ruling party

Anindita Chowdhury | Hyderabad |

Although TRS supremo K Chandrasekhar Rao has been raising the spectre of political interference across the border from Amaravati if people voted for TDP-Congress-led grand alliance, the rest of the so called “ Seemandhra parties” like YSRCP and Jana Sena are in fact working in favour of TRS as large chunks of their supporters are expected to vote for the ruling party.

Sensing an opportunity, K Chandrasekhar Rao’s son and the IT minister KT Rama Rao has been holding rallies and road shows in Kukatpally, an assembly constituency in the western part of the city. He has even met fans of Pawan Kalyan of Jana Sena and supporters of YSRCP who form a large part of its electorate.

Kukatpally, lying in close proximity to the IT hub and educational institutions, is home to a large number of settlers from Seemandhra and those from Northern India. This should have worked in favour of the TDP candidate, Nandamuri Suhashini, the grand-daughter of NT Rama Rao, founder of the party. The sitting MLA, Madhavram Krishna Rao, originally from TDP had won in 2014 by more than 43,000 votes but then crossed over to TRS. This time he is contesting as a candidate of the ruling party.

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The area which has seen a spurt of haphazard urban growth is besieged with problems of bad roads, poor drainage, inadequate water supply. Yet, a large number of the Andhra settlers are willing to vote for TRS. “The sitting MLA Madhavram Krishna Rao is always available. He knows our problems,” said Vasu, a young voter.

“N Suhashini does not even have public speaking skills. You cannot just pluck out somebody from nowhere and make her a candidate,” said B Naidu.

The metro railway connectivity and construction of flyovers and underpasses by the TRS government have won over the people especially retired government employees.

Among the settlers, caste wise the largest group is that of Kapus, the one which actor turned politician Pawan Kalyan belongs to. In Kukatpally there is also a large chunk of YSRCP supporters who have already declared their support for the TRS candidate since the party is not contesting the elections in Telangana.

Mr KT Rama Rao has been holding small meetings with Kapus and praising Pawan Kalyan, the Jana Sena leader who is also not contesting the polls.

Added to this mix is the large presence of minorities in Kukatpally and AIMIM president Asaduddin Owaisi campaigned here to ensure minorities pool their votes for the TRS candidate.

“Even if Congress state president Uttam Kumar Reddy or Chandrababu Naidu contests from Kukatpally they will not win,” said Omar Qureshi, an AIMIM supporter. Although TDP chief selected N Suhashini to project an united face of the first family of TDP the fact that Harikrishna, her father had resigned as an MP to protest against Telangana formation has not gone down well with the Telangana voters.

TRS candidate S Saidi Reddy contesting against heavyweight Congress candidate Uttam Kumar Reddy from Huzurnagar constituency has been banking on YSRCP voters as well. “I belong to a TDP family and moreover TDP cadres will not vote for Congress after fighting against them for so long. The YSRCP supporters have also pledged their support to me,” he said.