Monday, November 29, 2021
TelanganaHuzurabad by-poll campaign ends

Huzurabad by-poll campaign ends

Published: 27th Oct 2021 11:22 pm

Hyderabad: The high-octane campaign for the Huzurabad Assembly by-election came to an end at 7 pm on Wednesday. The last day of the campaign saw all political parties giving a major push with senior leaders making last-minute efforts to woo the voters. The polling is scheduled for October 30 and the counting followed by the announcement of results will be on November 2.

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The poll campaign ended 72 hours before polling following orders from the Election Commission of India as against the regular practice of 48 hours. The ECI introduced the new norm of ending the poll campaign 72 hours before for the first time during the West Bengal Assembly elections.

The by-election was necessitated following the resignation of Eatala Rajender who quit TRS in June, a month after he was dropped from the State Cabinet following allegations of land encroachment. He joined the BJP and is contesting the bypoll on the saffron party’s ticket. The BJP leadership deployed party national leader and Telangana in-charge Tarun Chugh, Union Ministers Smriti Irani and G Kishan Reddy who campaigned for Rajender along with BJP State president Bandi Sanjay and other leaders.

TRS fielded its student and Telangana movement leader Gellu Srinivas Yadav. Ministers — T Harish Rao, Talasani Srinivas Yadav, Koppula Eshwar, Gangula Kamalakar, V Srinivas Goud and other TRS leaders campaigned extensively on behalf of the ruling party. They not only highlighted the government’s welfare programmes but also slammed the BJP for neglecting Telangana and also increasing fuel prices.

While the TRS remains confident of emerging victorious, the BJP tried every possible trick to dent the winning prospects of the former. The BJP, being a ruling party at the Centre, used all the weapons at its disposal. Though the TRS government announced a scheme for Dalit empowerment in its Budget and launched the Dalit Bandhu scheme way before the by-election was announced, the BJP lodged a complaint and ensured that the ECI suspends the ongoing scheme till November 4 against the established norms.

Further, the Centre’s paramilitary forces of about 20 companies comprising over 2,000 personnel were also deployed in an unprecedented manner for a single Assembly constituency due to ‘sensitivity’ of the by-election. Ironically, the TRS is facing the Huzurabad bypoll without the public meeting of its party president and Chief Minister K Chandrashekhar Rao. He was forced to cancel his public meeting scheduled on Wednesday after the EC imposed restrictions on public gatherings with more than 1,000 people in Huzurabad as well and bordering areas covering the entire Karimnagar and Hanamkonda districts. Not surprisingly, no such restrictions were applicable for the meetings held by Union Ministers Smriti Irani and Kishan Reddy. Citing Covid-19 protocol, the 1,000-members-only restrictions are being imposed elsewhere in the country in constituencies where elections are being held. However, no specific restrictions were issued prohibiting meetings with more public in adjacent constituencies or districts.

The ruling party said the restrictions imposed by the ECI prevented Chandrashekhar Rao from addressing election meetings in the constituency. Addressing the TRS plenary in Hyderabad on Monday, the party president slammed the ECI for crossing its limits. The TRS chief also found fault with the poll panel for stopping the implementation of Dalit Bandhu in the constituency. During the campaign, the TRS leaders targeted the opposition parties for what they called attempts to stall the scheme.

Meanwhile, Congress made no serious efforts to even retain its traditional vote bank during the entire poll campaign, amidst allegations of colluding with BJP to defeat TRS. The Congress finalised its student leader Balmuru Venkata Narsing Rao just a few days before nominations came to a close. Most of the senior Congress leaders stayed away from the campaign arena. Even TPCC president A Revanth Reddy addressed just two-three meetings in the entire constituency.

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