Hyderabad: A general political assumption is that by-elections always favour the ruling party. However, this time, the situation was different. The Huzurnagar by-election took place at a time when Telangana Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao was facing difficulties for the first time since the new state was formed on June 2, 2014. All odds against the TRS government proved to be a mere bubble that dissolved silently in preventing the ruling party from clinching the Huzurnagar Assembly seat from Congress. It is important to note that the latter won Huzurnagar four times.
TRS candidate Saidi Reddy won by a majority of 43,233 votes in the by-election. With 1,12,796 votes, the ruling party candidate left Congress’ Padmavathi Reddy far behind, and BJP and TDP beyond comparison. With this, no one can claim that split in votes led to TRS’ victory as both BJP and TDP lost their deposits. Moreover, TRS won Huzurnagar without campaigning by the pink party supremo K Chandrasekhar Rao.
The key factors such as the ongoing RTC strike, combined support by all opposition parties, agitation of social activists, anti-incumbency, etc., failed to make an effect on the TRS candidate. Moreover, Saidi Reddy won it by a considerable majority when compared to the 10,000 votes, by which Uttam Kumar Reddy won in December 2018 elections.
An emphatic victory in a seat that was held by PCC president & that too without Hon’ble CM campaigning!!
Congratulations to Saidi Reddy Garu & the TRS leaders & workers for their tremendous work 👏
— KTR (@KTRTRS) October 24, 2019
Jolt to opposition parties
The opposition parties were hoping that an anti-incumbency factor would pave the way for Congress win as KCR lost the confidence of his people after becoming the CM for the second time.
“The RTC strike, which has been ongoing for over two weeks, at the time of by-election on October 21, would take a toll on the TRS candidate’s prospects. KCR’s adamant attitude would further add to the people’s fury. However, all these expectations of opposition parties proved to be wrong,” said a senior political analyst.
What factors led to TRS victory
There’s a clear difference of thought process of how Huzurnagar voters considered the by-election as against others viewed it from outside. The general view of negative factors was against the TRS party for outsiders. However, Huzurnagar people wanted their MLA from the ruling party, as their constituency shouldn’t be deprived of development activities taken by the TRS government.
The sitting MLA Uttam Kumar Reddy also won Nalgonda Lok Sabha constituency, retained it, and resigned from Huzurnagar Assembly. That led to the by-election. The Congress party fielded Uttam Kumar Reddy’s wife Padmavathi Reddy, who lost in Kodad Assembly constituency in December 2018, in Huzurnagar by-election. This sent wrong signals to voters and put the grand old party on the back step in criticising family rule in the state. Padmavathi got 69,563 votes. Congress failed to impress voters by leveraging from the ongoing RTC strike.
Coming to BJP and TDP, both parties lost their deposits as their candidates got 2,621 votes and 1,827 votes respectively. Independent candidate Suman did better than both of them did, as he got 2,693 votes.
By implementing schemes such as Rythu Bandhu, Rythu Bima and other welfare schemes, the ruling party won the hearts of Huzurnagar people, who mostly favoured Congress. “Moreover, TRS focused on poll engineering right from identifying voters, family-wise, to booth-level management. Whereas, the opposition parties didn’t properly do their groundwork; they focussed only on criticising KCR. This made a huge difference,” opined the political analyst.
Uttam Kumar Reddy won from Kodad Assembly constituency in 1999 and 2004. He also won twice in Huzurnagar Assembly constituency in 2009 and 2018. Later, Reddy won from Nalgonda Lok Sabha constituency in general elections held in 2019. TRS candidate Saidi Reddy lost to Uttam Kumar Reddy in 2018 elections.
Padmavathi Reddy was the first woman candidate to contest in Kodad Assembly constituency. She won from Kodad Assembly constituency in 2014. However, she lost to TRS candidate Bollam Mallaih Yadav in Assembly elections held on December 2018.