BRS, Congress debutants vs BJP’s party-hopping veteran in Khanapur

In Khanapur, a reserved ST constituency, it's a battle between the BRS, the Congress, and former MP Ramesh Rathod from the BJP. Incumbent MLA failed to secure a Congress ticket.

BRS, Congress debutants vs BJP’s party-hopping veteran in Khanapur

Parliament: Adilabad (ST)

District: Nirmal

MLA: Ajmeera Rekha Nayak (Lambaada)

MP: Soyam Bapu Rao (Mala)

Reservation: ST

Total Voters: 2,09,725

Booths: 305

Urban Voters: 11%

Rural Voters: 89%

Male: 49%

Female: 51%

Caste & Religious Demography:

Gen + OBC: 48.80%

SC: 16.30%

ST: 34.90%

Hindu: 90%

Muslim: 6%

Others : 4%

Assembly Constituency information

Bhukya Johnson Rathod Naik (BRS)

He earned a BSc in Genetics from the Nizam College in Hyderabad. BRS president KT Rama Rao is his classmate who asked him to take a political plunge. An owner of an IT consultancy in the US, Naik will be contesting from the Khanapur constituency.

Vedma Bojju Patel (Congress)

Despite the sitting MLA Rekha Nayak shifting to the Congress, the party decided give ticket to Bojju Patel. He belongs to the Gond community and worked as Panchayats Extension to Scheduled Areas (PESA) worker but resigned to join the Congress in 2021. He was soon made the general secretary of the party. He gained prominence due to his bike rallies in the constituency. In the internal Congress survey, it was revealed that Patel had good backing and offered him a ticket.

Ramesh Rathod (BJP)

Former Telugu Desam Party (TDP) MP from Adilabad Ramesh Rathod, who joined the BJP in 2021, has been nominated from Khanapur (ST), from where he had won in 1999. Entry of Ramesh Rathod would help the BJP get the required support from the Lambada community in the erstwhile Adilabad district. Ramesh has a strong following in the Khanapur constituency, which has a large population of STs, and the Lambada community leaders have been dominating the seat for decades. The former MP and his family members have won elections three times from the constituency.

Constituency information

Geography: Khanapur consists of 5 mandals-Indravalli, Jannaram, Kadem, Khanapur, Utnoor covering 3 districts and some villages from Asifabad, Narnoor mandals.

Background: It is ST Reserved Constituency. From 1984, TDP won 4 times and TRS won thrice form the Assembly. INC too won once here. The Assembly is politically dominated by Lambaadis and electorally dominated by OBCs.

MLA Profile

Personal Background: Ajmeera Rekha Nayak was born on Feb 19, 1974 in Hyderabad. She did her LLB from Osmania University.

Profession: Business.

Political Background: Ajmeer Rekha Nayak (Lambadi) entered politics with help of Ex MP Ramesh Rathod and worked as Asifabad ZPTC. In 2009, she contested and won as an independent MLA candidate from Asifabad. Later she migrated to Khanapur AC and was elected again as MLA from the TRS in 2014, 2018. Her husband Shyam Nayak, who is a motor vehicle inspector in Jagityal, is one of the prime reasons for her political growth.

Financial Strength: Strong

Remarks: Not accessible and there is no development in the constituency.

Cultural / Historical / Religious Identifiers:

  • Every year in Deepavali period, aboriginal tribes celebrate Dandari festival. Gussadi dance is their traditional dance form.
  • Aboriginal tribes visit Keslapur every year to participate in Nagoba Jatara.
  • Aboriginal tribes obey Rai centers decisions. Rai centers are their traditional courts represented by village heads.
  • Lambadi celebrate Teez festival every year and also celebrate Sevalaal Jayanthi.

    2014 election analysis:

Anti incumbency for the sitting TDP MLA Suman Rathod (Lambadi) who was the wife of ex-Adilabad MP Ramesh Rathod. Telangana Sentiment wave and infighting in INC were major reasons for Ajmeera Rekha Nayak (Lambadi) to win as an MLA from the TRS. She was able to consolidate OBC votes and get split votes of Muslims.

Ramesh Rathod’s son Rithesh Rathod contested as an MLA from the TDP in this election and he was able to win due to his father’s profile. He was able to pull the TDP’s traditional ST and OBC voters.

The INC candidate Ajmeera Hari Nayak (Lambadi) was only able to secure traditional INC votes of Muslims and SC.

2018 election analysis

After 2009, Ramesh Rathod (Lambadi) joined the TRS from the TDP with expectation of a 2018 MLA ticket. Later, due to infighting with incumbent TRS MLA Ajmeera Rekha Nayak (Lambadi) and non allotment of the TRS ticket, he joined the Congress. Due to infighting in the INC in this AC and with Ramesh Rathod frequently changing parties, majority of the TDP and the INC second rug cadre shifted their loyalty to the TRS. This helped the TRS retain this seat in this election.

The BJP for the first time, went to polls in this constituency without alliance. Ashok Satla’s (Nayakpod) candidature was announced at the last minute and disappointed the BJP cadre in this election. Even though the candidate's drawbacks of poll management, BJP was able to secure youth and a chunk of aboriginal tribe votes along with Hindutva sympathizers votes.

Current Situation:

  • TRS party is facing anti incumbency in this constituency.
  • Ex MP Ramesh Rathod’s defection to the BJP has strengthened the party in this AC but there is a gap between him and the existing BJP cadre.

    Key Local Issues
  • Podu land issue
  • Road connectivity to Agency areas.
  • The 120-year-old Sadarmat project was relocated to Nirmal AC. This canal system is one of the major sources for cultivation in this AC.
  • Clashes between Lambadi and Aboriginal tribes in Utnoor and Indravelli mandals.
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