Telangana Graduates’ constituency MLC by-election: Congress workers accused of manhandling

Polling percentage for the Graduates' constituency MLC by-election is estimated to have crossed 60 percent.

ByRaj Rayasam

Published May 27, 2024 | 10:08 PMUpdatedMay 27, 2024 | 10:08 PM

Graduates’ constituency MLC by-election

The by-election to the Telangana Legislative Council from the Warangal, Khammam and Nalgonda Graduates’ constituency went peacefully on Monday, 27 May, barring one incident of manhandling of an independent candidate, allegedly by Congress workers at Narektpally.

Over 68 percent of the eligible voters cast their votes till 4 pm in the by-election. The graduates’ constituency is spread over 34 Assembly segments in three undivided districts, with a total of 4.63 lakh voters. Voting began at 8 am and went on till 4 pm. As many as 52 candidates were in the fray for the by-election and the counting of votes will take place on 5 June.

Also Read: Karimnagar violence: 7 Hanuman devotees arrested for assaulting individual, damaging police vehicle

Congress accused of manhandling

Ashok, an independent candidate, lodged a complaint with Narketpally police that Congress workers beat him up while he was taking a video of them distributing money to voters. “They broke my cell phone and the police too did not come to my rescue,” he said.

The constituency is spread over 12 reorganised districts comprising 34 legislative assembly constituencies. The result of the by-election to the Graduates’ constituency is expected to indicate whether graduates are impressed with the performance of the ruling Congress after its election to office in December last year.

The by-poll has been necessitated by the resignation of the sitting BRS sitting MLC Palla Rajeswar Reddy consequent to his election to the Telangana Legislative Assembly from Janagaon in December last year.

The by-election, which came close on the heels of the Lok Sabha elections, has generated a lot of heat. The BRS pulled out all stops in campaigning to retain the seat. BRS working president KT Rama Rao and former Finance Minister T Harish Rao took an active part in improving the party’s chances in all three undivided districts.

Related: Congress, BRS and BJP turn to graduates’ constituency MLC by-election in Telangana on 27 May

Congress candidate Teenmar Mallanna

The Congress, keen on wresting the seat from the BRS stronghold, has fielded Teenmar Mallanna alias Chintapandu Naveen Kumar who ended a runner-up while contesting as an independent in the election for the seat in 2021.

This time, the Congress’ decision to field him is based on the hope that it would be easy to win the by-election as the party is perceived to be in a better position after winning the Assembly elections, decimating the monolith that BRS was.

The Congress was the first to announce its candidate Teenmar Mallanna, who is from the Backward Classes (Munnur Kapu, a BC-D caste) for the seat, even before the closure of nominations for Lok Sabha elections in the state, in anticipation that its decision would help garner support in the Lok Sabha elections.

The party chose the BC leader to assuage the ruffled feelings of BC voters, who were feeling let down by the party nominating very few BCs in the election to Lok Sabha.

For the parliamentary elections, Congress nominated seven Reddys for 12 of the 17 seats in Telangana. Of the remaining five seats, three are reserved for Scheduled Castes (SCs) and two for Scheduled Tribes (STs).

Teenmaar Mallanna is an ardent critic of BRS supremo K Chandrashekar Rao and is very active on social media platforms. He was arrested several times by the previous KCR dispensation for his “derogatory” posts.

Congress’ prospects seem good since the party performed very well in the Assembly segments in the three districts that constitute the graduates’ constituency. It won 33 of the 34 Assembly seats in the last Assembly elections in Warangal, Khammam, and Nalgonda districts.

Chief Minister and Telangana PCC president A Revanth Reddy took an active interest in ensuring that the Congress would perform better. He held talks with the CPM and CPI leaders ahead of the by-election and elicited their support. He asked the leaders to see to it that there was no let-up in the momentum that the party’s victory in the Assembly elections had generated.

Also Read: ‘In depression’, says Hassan MP Prajwal Revanna accused of sexual abuse; Vows to appear before SIT on 31 May

BRS and BJP candidates in the fray

The BRS fielded A Rakesh Reddy, who quit the BJP to join BRS ahead of last year’s Telangana Assembly elections. Even before BRS announced his candidature, Rakesh Reddy had been working unobtrusively to establish a connection with the voters in the constituency.

The BJP has fielded party senior leader Gujjula Premender Reddy. The party hopes to win the seat since the BJP has better traction in the educated sections. With the BJP-led NDA ruling at the Centre, it is considered to be at the inflection point of scoring a hat trick, the saffron party leaders are hoping that luck would favour them this time.

(Edited by Neena)