By Mohammed ShafeeqHyderabad, May 2 : The ruling Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS), which retained the Nagarjuna Sagar Assembly seat in the by-election, has increased its vote share and margin of victory compared to the 2018 polls.
The ruling party marginally increased its vote share to 47.05 per cent from 46.34 per cent.Its candidate Nomula Bhagat polled 89,804 votes to defeat his nearest rival K.Jana Reddy of the Congress by a margin of 18,872 votes.
The margin of victory for the TRS in 2018 was 7,771 votes.It was Bhagat’s father Nomula Narasimhaiah who was elected as the TRS candidate in the previous elections, defeating Jana Reddy, a veteran Congress leader and a former minister in undivided Andhra Pradesh.
Narasimhaiah’s death in December last year caused the vacancy and the by-election was held on April 17.
Bhagat, who made electoral debut, defeated Jana Reddy by a higher margin.The Congress leader this time polled 70,932 votes.The party’s vote share came down to 37.16 from 42.04 per cent in the previous election.
As in the past in this constituency, it turned out to be a direct fight between the two parties.The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) finished a poor third as its candidate polled 7,676 votes (4.02 per cent), forfeiting his deposit.
There was not much improvement in the performance of the saffron party, which had polled 1.48 per cent votes in 2018.
Nagarjuna Sagar had witnessed 86.18 per cent polling in last month’s bypoll despite the Covid-19 surge.Out of 2.20 lakh voters, 1.89 lakh had cast their votes.
The ruling party’s strategy to field Bhagat proved successful, though the leadership was initially reluctant in view of the shock defeat at the hands of the BJP in Dubbak Assembly by-election in November last year.
The saffron party had wrested Dubbak from thee TRS though the ruling party had fielded widow of the deceased legislator S.Ramalinga Reddy to bank on the sympathy factor.However, the political analysts had attributed the defeat to overconfidence by TRS leadership.
Chief Minister K.Chandrasekhar Rao had not campaigned in Dubbak.This time he addressed a couple of meetings and made a slew of promises to people of Nagarjuna Sagar.
The choice of Bhagat, a highly educated youth and practising High Court advocate, also seems to have helped the party.
He was actively involved in his father’s campaign 2014 and 2018 elections and enjoyed considerable support among people.
Political observers say caste factor also played a key role in the by-election.
Bhagat comes from Yadav community, which constitutes 40 per cent of over two lakh voters in the constituency.
The TRS was upbeat following its victory in the elections to two graduates’ constituencies of the Legislative Council in March.
The ruling party retained one seat and wrested another from BJP.
The TRS also did not take any chances as it faced a strong rival in Jana Reddy, a seven-time MLA.He was earlier elected five times from Chalakurthy constituency, which became Nagarjuna Sagar in the delimitation exercise in 2009.He had won both in 2009 and 2014.
The defeat of the senior leader has dealt a big blow to the Congress’ efforts revive its fortunes in the state.
The party suffered a series of setbacks since the 2018 Assembly polls.
It not only lost a dozen MLAs to the TRS but also suffered defeat in by-election to Huzurabad seat, which was vacated by state Congress chief Uttam Kumar Reddy following his election to Lok Sabha in 2019.The TRS captured the Congress stronghold.
The defeat in Dubbak, Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation (GHMC) and elections to rural and urban local bodies had thrown Congress into total disarray.
The humiliating defeat in Nagarjuna Sagar is also a big setback to the BJP, which was hoping to build on the victory in Dubbak and impressive performance in GHMC polls to project itself as the only viable alternative to the TRS.
The BJP fielded a tribal as the constituency has 40,000 Lambadi voters.Ravi Kumar Naik, a physician, had joined the saffron party in March.
The party’s hopes were dashed as its candidate forfeited the deposit