It was not an ordinary victory for the BJP in the Huzurabad by-poll. The party candidate Eatala Rajender secured more than 51.96 percent of votes, which added insult to TRS' injury.

The former health minister won the seat by a margin of 24,068 votes. Of the 2,05, 236 EVM votes polled, Eatala secured 1,06,780. TRS candidate Gellu Srinivas Yadav came second with 82,712 votes. Congress candidate Balaram Venkat Narsing Rao secured 3,012 votes.

Of the total 2,05,965 votes polled (EVM + postal votes), BJP secured 1,07,022 , TRS got 83,167 and Congress secured 3,014 votes.

Interestingly, 1036 voters chose NOTA. BJP secured 51.96 percent of the total votes polled followed by TRS 40.38 percent and Congress 1.46 percent. 0.5 percent of people chose NOTA.

Eatala Rajender had been leading from the first round of counting. TRS took the lead only in two rounds. Eatala has been an MLA six times-- twice from Kamalapur and four times from Huzurabad.

In June 2021, Eatala resigned as MLA after KCR sacked him over land grabbing charges. Later he resigned from TRS and joined BJP. He will now join BJP's Goshamahal MLA Raja Singh and Dubbaka MLA Raghunandan Rao in the Legislative Assembly.

What led to Eatala's win?

Sympathy, defiance, and stronghold in the constituency worked in Eatala's favour. Speaking to NewsMeter, election observer Mohan Guruswamy said, "Eatala was victimized and his supporters were hurt about how badly he was treated. Corruption can't be an issue in the KCR government. It is Eatala's personal win but for the BJP to claim. To recall, BJP lost its deposit in Nagarjuna Sagar by-polls. While Congress in the big fight kept it low key. TPCC president and parliamentarian A. Revanth Reddy knew that Congress would not win so he put up a weak link. Can't complain about the Congress. People knew that voting for the Congress would be a waste in Huzurabad. In the election between Eatala vs KCR, Eatala won."

The Huzurabad by-polls strike a similarity with that of Dubbaka: in both cases TRS leaders Eatala Rajender and M. Raghunandhan Rao walked out of the pink party, faced an election, and won the break-neck battle. Eatala was already a sitting MLA when he resigned but Raghunandhan was not. He had contested twice but lost. However, the by-polls brought him luck.

To recall, Eatala Rajender recorded a straight win in six elections. He was first elected as an MLA in 2014, won the by-polls in 2007, general elections in 2009, 2014, 2018, and now another by-poll in 2021.

Nimisha S Pradeep

Hailing from Palakkad, Kerala, Nimisha completed her MA in Communication (with a specialization in Print and New Media) from the University of Hyderabad. She has interned with The Hindu Metroplus, Chennai and The Sentinel, Assam. She was a fellow of the NFI Fellowship for Independent Journalists in 2021. In 2015, she attended the Jenesys Student Exchange Programme in Japan. She firmly believes in the power of words and the impact it can make on society. She looks forward to using her career in journalism to voice the issues of minorities. Her interest areas include gender, women and society. She pursues travel, photography, and music in her leisure time.

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