Though the Election Commission of India is yet to notify the by-election for the Munugode Assembly seat for which it has a clear six months’ time, an intense tussle is going on in the TRS for the party’s nomination.
The keenness of the probables to contest on the TRS ticket from Munugode comes as a surprise since the odds are stacked against the TRS. For one thing, the seat, till recently, was held by Komatireddy Rajagopal Reddy, who resigned as an MLA after leaving the Congress.
The former Congress legislator will now contest on the BJP ticket.
Then, the TRS aspirants are aware that the segment has remained a Congress bastion for a very long time. In fact, late MP Palvai Govardhan Reddy won five times from the constituency, and Rajagopal Reddy won in 2018.
TRS nominee Kusukuntla Prabhakar Reddy won the seat in 2014 because of the presence of Sravanthi Reddy as a Congress rebel in the fray after the grand old party left the seat to the CPI as part of an alliance among the opposition parties. Come 2018, the Congress romped home, defeating TRS nominee Prabhakar Reddy.
Now Prabhakar Reddy wants to avenge his humiliation in 2018 by defeating Rajagopal. Though Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao held talks with various leaders who are opposing Prabhakar Reddy’s nomination to bury the hatchet, no decision has yet been announced.
Reddys are a minority numerically in the constituency, but are a dominant community. Keeping this in mind and expecting a shift of Congress votes to TRS in the wake of Rajagopal Reddy deserting the grand old party, KCR might plump for Prabhakar Reddy.
KCR cannot take chances like the way he did in Dubbak and Huzurabad as the result in Munugode would set the tone for the next Assembly elections in 2023.
As it has been a Reddy MLA all the time in Munugode, the backward classes, who constitute a majority of the electorate, want one of them to be nominated for the seat. The front-runners among them include former MP Boora Narsaiah Goud and former MLC Karne Prabhakar.
Energy minister G Jagadish Reddy, who has been tasked with bringing about a consensus among the warring groups in the constituency, is taking into consideration the Rajagopal factor.
The TRS leader is also trying to get a sense of whether the communists, who have some presence in the constituency, would field their candidates and if they do, to what extent they would be able to make or mar TRS’ chances.