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Telangana campaign trail: TRS leads, Opposition struggling

TDP-Congress alliance are scrambling to put their house in order due to delay in announcing candidates and presence of rebel candidates in the fray

Anindita Chowdhury | Hyderabad |

Even as candidates of Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) are on to their second round of canvassing as the Telangana campaign scene hots up, their closest rivals from the TDP-Congress alliance have been left scrambling to put their house in order, thanks to a delay in announcing candidates and presence of rebel candidates in the fray. For instance, G Jagadish Reddy, the TRS candidate from Suryapet Assembly constituency is busy in his second round of meetings with select groups such as farmers, advocates, teachers and so on while an empty campaign vehicle of Congress flits in and out, apparently to enhance visibility as the party puts its house in order.

Suryapet, a sleepy municipal town on the highway between Hyderabad and Vijayawada has a 60:40 mix of rural and urban electorate. About 134 km away from Hyderabad it is part of the newly carved out Suryapet district – one of the 31 set up by the TRS government.

Detractors may say otherwise but undoubtedly development has touched Suryapet under G Jagadish Reddy who has an enviable profile as the minister of power and SC development, a close aide of party supremo K Chandrasekhar Rao and a founder member of TRS.

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A first time MLA and minister in 2014, he said, “I am not a politician but an agitator for Telangana.” An absolute greenhorn in 2014 he won by a slender margin of over 2000 votes against Sankineni Venkateshwar Rao, an independent who is now in BJP. The grand alliance has a heavyweight candidate in R Damodar Reddy, a senior Congress leader who has been a minister in the past but plagued by dissidence, a familiar story all over Telangana for the grand old party.

“ Last time Venkateshwar Rao as an independent had an autorickshaw as a symbol and many of my rural voters confused it with the ambassador car, the symbol of TRS. But this time he is in BJP and there will not be any confusion with the lotus symbol,”claimed Jagadish Reddy.

Although his critics have brought a number of allegations against him including land scams he has implemented most of the various citizen friendly schemes launched by the TRS government. Apart from carving out a new district of Suryapet out of Nalgonda he has ensured uninterrupted power supply and clean drinking water in an area. There is a new green building for integrated market and a new medical college with a hospital has been sanctioned.

“A medical college ensures employment as well as a super speciality hospital,” he said while claiming that law and order has improved vastly now that the various syndicates allegedly run by the then ruling party, have been dismantled.

But it is the 2BHK apartments for the poor completed within a year that has earned him accolades, at least among beneficiaries who have displayed posters of chief minister and Reddy in their flats. A few grumblings could be heard about 2 BHK houses allotted to people who already own houses or about contract employees who were not absorbed but it was clear that voters do not want to waste their vote and will vote according to the direction in which the wind blows.