‘Mini-India’ seat set for three-cornered contest between TRS, Congress and BJP; can KCR hold fort?

With over 31.50 lakh voters, Malkajgiri is considered a ‘Mini India’ due to its diverse population. Malla Reddy won the seat in 2014 on a Telugu Desam Party ticket and later switched over to the TRS.

362 candidates file nominations for first phase of polls in Karnataka (Representational image)

Congress firebrand leader A Revanth Reddy, Marri Rajashekar Reddy, son-in-law of sitting MP and minister Malla Reddy and BJP’s senior leader N Ramchander Rao are slugging it out for the April 11 Lok Sabha elections in this ‘Mini-India’ segment, where TRS appears to have an edge.

With over 31.50 lakh voters, Malkajgiri is considered a ‘Mini India’ due to its diverse population. Malla Reddy won the seat in 2014 on a Telugu Desam Party ticket and later switched over to the TRS. The TDP had a pre-poll tie up with BJP then. He contested in the last Assembly polls and is now a minister. The ruling TRS won six out of seven Assembly segments in the December 7, 2018, polls. LB Nagar sitting Congress legislator D Sudheer Reddy has already pledged his allegiance to the K Chandrasekhar Rao-led party thus bringing the whole Lok Sabha constituency under TRS wings.

I am contesting here as per the decision of my party. Unlike Assembly elections, these polls are being fought on national issues. The voters will decide who the Prime Minister of this country will be. Your vote will make Rahul Gandhi Prime Minister. Your problems will be raised in Parliament, Revanth Reddy, who lost in the Assembly polls from Kodangal constituency, says. The TDP, CPI and TJS have thrown their weight behind the Congress in the Lok Sabha elections in Telangana, giving the Rahul Gandhi-led party some extra muscle to take on the battle-ready TRS. These parties were part of the Congress-led “Prajakutami” (People’s Front) in the assembly elections in December last year, but there is no formal alliance for the April 11 Lok Sabha polls among them.

The TDP has not fielded candidates in the state and is supporting the Congress; CPI and TJS have declared support to the Rahul Gandhi-led party in constituencies where they are contesting. Describing Revanth Reddy as a ‘non-local’, Rajasekhar Reddy claimed he was a local man and said the welfare schemes being implemented by the ruling party would help him win. I am a local person. I am always available and approachable to local people.

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I am confident that people will vote for me due to the welfare and developmental works being implemented here. BJP banks on the campaign by its top brass including the Prime Minister Narendra Modi to woo voters. Incidentally, Rao lost in the Malkajgiri Assembly segment which forms part of capital Hyderabad. Independent political analyst Prof Nageswar said the anti-KCR (K Chandrasekhar Rao) forces see Revanth Reddy as an icon for his tirade against KCR while Rajashekar Reddy, a new entrant to the political arena, is backed by TRS, a formidable force.

“The challenge for Revanth Reddy is to take on TRS, which will prove to be mighty. The advantage is that he is reckoned as a voice against KCR. Rajasekhar Reddy is a new entrant and will have to garner the support of the sitting legislators of Malkajgiri constituency for his win, though he has the blessings of KCR which makes easy for him to approach masses,” Nageswar said. On the prospects of the BJP in Telangana, the analyst said people who want to vote against the Congress may prefer TRS to the Amit Shah-led party as the former is a much stronger force in the state.

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