What is the rate? Why Munugode voters are looking at a bumper Diwali

The voters have been promised not only cash or liquor but also gold, as the by-election will take place just the week after Diwali.

BySumit Jha

Published Oct 14, 2022 | 9:00 AMUpdatedOct 14, 2022 | 4:24 PM


With inflation reaching a five-month high of 7.41 percent in September, the price of a vote in the Munugode by-election has also reached its peak.

This time, the major political parties are promising as much as ₹10,000 per vote in the constituency, South First learnt as it put its ear to the ground in the constituency.

The by-election was necessitated by the resignation of Komatireddy Rajagopal Reddy on 2 August, as both an MLA and a Congress member, citing differences with Telangana Congress chief A Revanth Reddy.

Rajagopal Reddy has since joined the BJP and is contesting the by-election on its ticket. The election is scheduled on 3 November.

And the political parties — or at least their local booth-level leaders — are making no bones about it.

Meanwhile, the voters have been promised not only cash or liquor — the usual offerings — in the by-elections but also gold, as the election will be held in the week following Diwali.

The rates

Since the announcement of the resignation of Rajagopal Reddy as an MLA from Munugode, every party has pushed the envelope to “cater to” the voters of the constituency.

Parties are trying to get every single vote by any means, and that includes providing large amounts of cash to the voters — which is a violation of the rules.

“During Dasara, it was mostly chicken, mutton, or liquor by the parties. Now, with the election date announced, things have gone up a notch,” said Yusuf at Chandur Town in Munugode constituency.

“During the 2018 election, the TRS candidate Prabhakar Reddy distributed ₹500, and the Congress candidate Rajagopal Reddy distributed ₹1,000 per vote. This time the party cadres have promised at least ₹10,000 per vote,” he told South First.

With Diwali just a week before the by-election, the parties are now also promising 10 grams of gold, which costs around ₹52,330, to families of five-six voters.

“Many families in this area have been promised 10 grams of gold if there are five or more voters in them. The parties have the voter list, and they are identifying big chunks of voters with the help of booth-level workers. Then they are luring them by promising 10 grams of gold,” said a voter in Munugode town.

What about the issues?

According to the voters, there are plenty of issues that they are facing.

“There is no government degree college near Munugode. Students have to go to Nalgonda for their studies. Junior colleges are also far away. At Primary Healthcare Centres (PHCs), the facility is 24×7, but in case of severe injury or even when a pregnant woman requires an operation, they are sent to Nalgonda,” Srikanth, a resident of Kalavala Palle in the Munugode mandal, told South First.

“Roads are there, but most of them are broken. People often face problems with the Rythu Bandhu scheme — which helps farmers with investment support — due to technical or document issues. And we want to vote for all these issues,” he added.

“However, just a day or two before the election, people will forget all these as the parties will come to their houses and start giving money for votes, and whoever will give more money will get the votes,” said Srikanth.

“The election was foisted upon us. If the state government did not agree to the development of the constituency, Raj Gopal Reddy could have sat on a dharna, and we people would have sat with him. But he is a businessman, and he resigned for his own profit,” Sudhir from Munugode town told South First.

Why don’t the issues matter?

What about K Prabhakar Reddy? “He is a politician as well. Unless and until they see any benefit, why would they come to help people? While Rajagopal Reddy used to visit the constituency once in four-five months, at least Prabhakar Reddy used to come to the constituency every week. But, it is not going to matter. It’s all a money game. Earlier, the money changed hands behind curtains. It’s all in the open now. Party workers come directly and say they will give a certain amount of money for votes,” said Sudhir.

He added that if a political party gave ₹5,000 to each and every voter, the total money would come to around a ₹100 crore, as there are around two lakh voters in the constituency.

“With this much money, a hospital can be constructed, roads can be repaired, and more schools can be built. But they are not interested in public service. They are interested in their own service,” he said.

Nilamma, a street vendor in Munugode, said that she would be happy if any party gave her money, but there could be other consequences.

“The money which we will get might end up in the men’s hands, and they will buy alcohol with it. After that, they will get drunk, come home, and beat their wives. If it is a good thing for some voters, it can be bad for some as well,” she explained.