OBCs key as BJP heavyweight Etela Rajender faces prestige battle in Huzurabad

Lack of development under Etela, negative image of Padi Koushik Reddy and non-implementation of crop loan waiver are some of the key local issues

OBCs key as BJP heavyweight Etela Rajender faces prestige battle in Huzurabad

Assembly Constituency: Huzurabad

District: Karimnagar

MLA: Etela Rajender (Mudiraj)

MP: Bandi Sanjay Kumar

Reservation: GEN

Total Voters: 2,40,827

Male: 50%

Female: 50%

Booths: 305

Urban Voters: 4%

Rural Voters: 96%

Caste & Religious Demography:

  • Gen + OBC: 77.9%
  • SC: 21.2%
  • ST: 0.9%
  • Hindu: 95.1%
  • Muslim: 3.7%
  • Others: 1. 2%

Padi Kaushik Reddy (BRS)

In the 2018 Assembly polls Kaushik Reddy contested on the Congress ticket against the then TRS candidate Etela Rajender from Huzurabad and lost. After Etela Rajender resigned from Assembly Kaushik Reddy joined the TRS Party in the presence of party president and Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao on July 21, 2021.

Padi Kaushik Reddy was Nominated as MLC in the Governor quota under the social service category in July 2021 and sent to Governor Tamilisai Soundararajan for approval. However, the Governor did not approve his candidature. Finally Kaushik Reddy was elected unanimously as MLC under MLA's quota.

Vodithala Pranav (Cong)

Grandson of former BRS MP Capt Laxmi Kantha Rao. His joining into the Congress from the BRS could have some bearing on the outcome. But he represents the Brahmin community pitted against two big leaders Etela Rajender of the BJP and Padi Kaushik Reddy of the BRS. Pranav’s grandfather Laxmikantha Rao was a close confidant of KCR. He was the choice of KCR for the Rajya Sabha biennial polls.

Etela Rajender (BJP)

Etela a student leader with leftist idealogy joined the BRS in 2003. He entered the erstwhile AP Assembly as a first-time MLA from Kamalapur Assembly constituency in 2004. He defeated sitting MLA Muddasani Damodar Reddy. He was the floor leader of the TRS floor leader in the Andhra Pradesh Legislative Assembly. He resigned as the MLA in 2008 and was re-elected as an MLA from the Kamalapur constituency in the 2008 by-election. In 2009, contested from Huzurabad constituency and won as the MLA. In 2010 he resigned as the MLA and won the by-election. He was the Finance Minister of Telangana in KCR's cabinet.

He contested the 2018 Telangana Legislative Assembly election and was re-elected as the MLA from Huzurabad constituency. In 2019, he became minister for health in KCR's cabinet. He faced allegations of land encroachment in 2021 and was dismissed from the state cabinet. He resigned from TRS and joined the BJP. He contested the by-election and won as the BJP MLA.

Assembly Constituency information:

Geography: Huzurabad is part of the Karimnagar Parliamentary Constituency and the rural constituency. Ellanthakunta, Veenavanka, Huzurabad, Jammikunta, and Kamlapur Mandal are part of this Assembly constituency.

Background: This constituency was formed in 1968 as Kamlapur AC. From 1983 onwards the TDP was very strong but with the emergence of the Telangana movement, the TRS wrestled the seat from the TDP as the Karimnagar district in which this constituency is situated, was the epicenter of the Telangana Movement. Etela Rajender won the Huzurabad seat seven times including three by-elections.

MLA Profile:

Personal Background: He was born on 20/03/1964. He is married to Jamuna who is from the Reddy community.

Profession: Business (Poultry farms) His wife handles the poultry business.

Political Background: He is a PDSU leader (A left-leaning student organization). He started his political journey with the TRS now BRS. He was one of the founding members of the TRS. He contested 2004 Assembly elections and won from Kamalapur AC. He won 2008 by-election, 2009 AE, and 2011 by-election. He won the 2014 elections and was made Minister for Finance & Planning. He won the 2018 elections and was made Minister for Medical & Health and Family Welfare. But was removed from the ministry unceremoniously on charges of corruption. He resigned as MLA and contested again as MLA from BJP and won.

Financial Strength: Very Strong

2014 AE Analysis:

Telangana sentiment dominated the 2014 election. Etela Rajendra was a leader of the Telangana Movement and the face of the TRS after KCR . As he was from the Mudhiraj community (BC), Mudhiraj voters completely rallied behind him. Youth voters who participated in the movement outrightly supported Rajender helping him garner a 58% vote share.

2018 AE Analysis:

In 2018 even though there was a significant anti-incumbency against Etela Rajender, it was nullified by the TDP+INC alliance. TRS was successful in projecting it as Andhra vs Telangana issue and it helped TRS to consolidate votes on this sentiment. As a result, the TRS once again got 60% votes, similar to the 2014 election. The INC fielded Kaushik Reddy, which helped in swinging Reddy voters towards INC. Reddy, Madiga and traditional the TDP votes helped the INC to increase their vote share from 25% to 35%.

By-Election Analysis:

Riding on the sympathy factor Etela Rajender won the by-election despite the ruling TRS spending a huge amount of money. The major reason for the BJP’s victory was the OBC consolidation except Yadavas in favour of BJP. OBC were dissatisfied with the implementation of Dalit Bandhu by the TRS government

Key Local Issues:

  • Lack of development under Etela
  • Negative image of Padi Koushik Reddy
  • Etela contesting from both Huzurabad and Gajwel
  • Non-implementation of Crop Loan Waiver
  • Positive impact of Rytu Bandhu
  • 2 bhk houses a non-starter
  • No new ration cards issued
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