Hyderabad, Oct.24 (PMI): The Congress party met its waterloo in the by-election to Huzurnagar Assembly seat by handing over on a platter its impregnable fort to the ruling TRS and thus exposing the unabated infighting and group politics within the party in Telangana State.
The TRS candidate, Sanampudi Saidi Reddy, defeated the Congress nominee, Padmavathi Reddy, with a huge majority in the by-election which turned out to be a one-sided affair. As expected the BJP and TDP, which have entered the poll fray, turned out to be inconsequential and tasted a humiliating defeat by losing their deposits. What is more, the withdrawal of support by the CPI had no impact on the TRS which sailed through with a thumping majority.
For the TRS candidate Saidi Reddy winning the by-election was a sweet revenge as he had avenged his defeat at the hands of Uttam Kumar Reddy in the elections held in December last year. Even for the TRS the victory has come as shot in its arm after the party received a jolt in the subsequent Lok Sabha elections when BJP bagged four seats and the Congress three seats.
Fresh from its unexpected success by winning three Lok Sabha seats, the Congress was confident that it would not only retain the Huzurnagar seat but would also prove that it is still a formidable force in the state. However TPCC President Uttam Kumar Reddy failed to assess the impact of the undercurrents within the Congress following his decision to nominate his spouse as the party candidate for the seat which he had vacated leading to the by-election.
It is pertinent to note here that Uttam Kumar Reddy faced numerous hurdles from his own partymen, especially those hailing from his native district of Nalgonda since the day he assumed charge as President of TPCC. There has been persistent demand in the party with senior members representing to the Congress High Command to replace him. Nominating his wife as the party nominee to contest the by-election has not gone well within the party. As a matter of fact, the TPCC Working President A. Revanth Reddy, a maverick politician who defected from the TDP, lodged a complaint with the Central bosses and wanted a BC candidate to be fielded. However, Uttam Kumar Reddy managed to ensure that his nominee would ultimately prevail.
Meanwhile, Chief Minister K. Chandrashekhar Rao, an astute and scheming politician, considered the Huzurnagar by-election as an opportunity to further decimate the already sinking Congress ship. Accordingly he diligently planned the election strategy and ensured that all his cabinet colleagues would vigorously campaign for the success of the ruling party. He even managed to enlist the support of the CPI. The subsequent strike by the RTC employees and the CPI withdrawing its support came as an unexpected setback during the midst of the electioneering. However, unfazed by these developments, KCR silently formulated his own plans to win the by-election, in which his son and party working President K T Rama Rao played a pivotal role.
The Congress party on the other hand failed to capitalize on the growing resentment against KCR and TRS, especially in mishandling the RTC strike and also in the termination of nearly 48,000 striking RTC employees. Even senior party leaders did not seriously take up campaigning and the entire burden of electioneering fell on the shoulders of Uttam Kumar Reddy. As if this was not enough, the local people in the constituency were cut up with Uttam Kumar Reddy for not bothering for its development despite his winning the seat three times. Moreover, the voters were unhappy that a local candidate denied party ticket as they considered Padmavathi Reddy as an “outsider”.
Thus against this scenario, the victory of TRS has further boosted the strength and confidence of KCR to emerge as an undisputed and unrivalled leader in Telangana State. The TRS success has also struck a somewhat fear in the striking RTC employees, who till now have been confident that they have gained the confidence of the people and the TRS would be taught a bitter lesson for forcing the RTC employees to take to the streets. They fear that KCR might now further harden his stance with regard to the transport strike.
All said and done, the TRS victory in Huzurnagar by-election has provided fresh fuel to KCR’s speeding pink car to crush his detractors, especially in further dislocating the already fractured Congress hand in Telangana.