Once bitten, twice shy: BRS to field new faces in a few Lok Sabha constituencies

The party had fielded the same old faces in many of the Assembly segments in the 30 November polls, and paid the price.

ByRaj Rayasam

Published Jan 24, 2024 | 9:00 AMUpdatedJan 24, 2024 | 9:17 AM

KCR Delhi Parties

Still smarting from the debilitating defeat in last year’s Telangana Assembly polls, BRS supremo K Chandrashekar Rao is understood to be planning to field new faces at least in a few seats in the upcoming Lok Sabha polls.

The party had fielded the same old faces in many of the Assembly segments for the 30 November polls, and paid the price as the Congress rode to power.

Though speculation is rife that Chandrashekar Rao — KCR — would contest the Lok Sabha from Medak, there are no definite indications so far. It is now said that he might choose to keep out of the Lok Sabha polls and steer the party in the state to regain lost ground.

The Medak seat, held by the BRS, is lying vacant after the incumbent, MP Kotha Prabhakar Reddy, was elected to the Assembly from Dubbaka.

If KCR chooses not to contest, Ch Madan Reddy, who was promised a Lok Sabha ticket from Medak in return for sacrificing the Narsapur Assembly seat, will be the automatic choice.

Also Read: Congress candidates elected to Telangana Legislative Council

Will Kavitha contest?

Similarly, there is suspense over whether MLC and KCR’s daughter Kavitha Kalvakuntla would contest from Nizamabad. She had lost Nizamabad to BJP’s Dharmapuri Arvind in the 2019 elections.

In the Lok Sabha constituency-level meetings, which ended on Monday, 22 January, no indication was given of her candidature. She may be asked to continue as an MLC.

Though recuperating after hip replacement surgery, KCR has reportedly assessed the reasons for the party’s loss and the way forward.

The BRS also held Lok Sabha constituency-level meetings to know the opinions of party leaders. The meetings, held at the KCR’s insistence, promised that the functioning of the party in the future would be more democratic.

To avoid committing the same mistakes, the party is contemplating changes depending on the people’s perception of the incumbent MPs and those who lost in the last Lok Sabha elections.

The party seems to have okayed the candidature of three sitting MPs: Nama Nageswara Rao (Khammam), G Ranjith Reddy (Chevella), and BB Patil (Zaheerabad).

The party seems to be having second thoughts on fielding incumbent MPs Pasunuri Dayakar (Warangal), Venatesh Netha (Paddapalli) P Ramulu (Nagarkurnool), Maloth Kavitha (Mahabubabad), and Manne Srinivasa Reddy (Mahabubnagar), due to the heavy anti-incumbency factor against them.

The party will have to find candidates for Secunderabad, Nalgonda, Bhongir, Adilabad, Nizamabad, Karimnagar, Malkangiri, and Hyderabad. The Hyderabad seat normally went to the AIMIM, an ally, which means that the BRS has to look for strong candidates in the other seven seats.

For Karimnagar, Boinpally Vinod Kumar would be the automatic choice. Kumar, who is close to KCR and who did important party work as BRS MP in Delhi in 2014-19, lost the election from Karimnagar to BJP’s Bandi Sanjay Kumar in 2019.

Also Read: KTR foresees a sympathy surge for KCR; signals positive momentum for BRS

Nalgonda and Bhongir

The party has to scout for strong candidates for Nalgonda and Bhongir in the Nalgonda district where the Congress is strong. Roads and Building Minister Komatireddy Venkat Reddy on Tuesday said that the Congress would sweep the two seats with not less than a majority of four lakh each.

Since the two seats are now being held by the Congress, the BRS will have to look for leaders who could turn the tide. Luckily for the BRS, the sitting MPs from Nalgonda and Bhongir are now ministers in the Revanth Reddy Cabinet which means that those seeking election from these two seats from Congress would not be as strong as its previous candidates.

The BRS, which lost Bhongir in 2019, has no ready candidate for the seat. Worse still, it will have to face Dr Booranarasiah Goud who is now in the BJP. He represented the constituency in 2014 on behalf of the BRS. The BRS also needs a candidate in Nalgonda.

Legislative Council chairman Gutta Sukhender Reddy is trying to get a ticket for his son Amith Kumar Reddy for Nalgonda and had even broached the subject with BRS Working President KT Rama Rao, or KTR, who reportedly assured to help. KCR has reportedly told Amith Kumar that he should be ready to contest either from Bhongir or Nalgonda.

He had said that the party had already promised the Nalgonda Lok Sabha seat to Patel Ramesh Reddy who sacrificed his seat for former minster R Damodhar Reddy who contested and lost the Suryapet Assembly seat to former energy minister G Jagdish Reddy.

The party is also looking for a suitable candidate for Malkajgiri. It cannot consider Marri Rajasekhar Reddy, who is the son-in-law of former minister Ch Malla Reddy, as he has been elected to the Assembly. He fought and lost the election against Revanth Reddy from Malkanjiri Lok Sabha constituency in 2019.

Malkajgiri holds a fascination for all the parties as it is considered that winning from there is not very difficult for various reasons. For national parties, the BJP and the Congress, influencing voters is considered easy as the population of the constituency represents a mini-India as people from all over the country who came to Hyderabad had settled down there.

The BRS considers it an easy bet as it had won all segments in the constituency in the recent Assembly elections.