Triangular fight in Kothagudem, Vanama Venkateswara Rao facing tough challenge, coal miners crucial

Sitting BRS MLA is facing a tough challenge and also a strong fight put up by the Janasena and the CPI. The outcome depends on the significant coal miner population in the constituency

Triangular fight in Kothagudem, Vanama Venkateswara Rao facing tough challenge, coal miners crucial

Assembly Constituency: Kothagudem

District: Bhadradri Kothagudem

MLA: Vanama Venkateswara Rao

Reservation: GEN

Total Voters: 2,32,502

Booths: 253

Urban Voters: 66%

Rural Voters: 34%

Male: 49.89%

Female: 50.11%

Caste & Religious Demography

• Gen + OBC: 61.00%

• SC: 15.90%

• ST: 23.10%

• Hindu: 89.00%

• Muslim: 09%

• Others: 2.00%


Vanama Venkateswara Rao (BRS)

Vanama Venkateswara Rao was born on January 11, 1944, and studied till Intermediate. He is married to Padmavathi and has two sons and two daughters. His political journey started with the Palwancha ward member and he was elected as sarpanch from Palwancha (16 years). He was the municipal vice-chairman of Palwancha Municipality. He served as chairperson of APSRTC, Warangal region.

Later, he joined the Congress and was elected as a Member of the Legislative Assembly (MLA) from the Congress party. He served as DCC president for Khammam district from 1999 to 2014 and was re-appointed in the same position in 2019, for Bhadradri Kothagudem district. In 2018, he won as an MLA with a majority of 60,632 votes from the Congress..

Kunamaneni Sambasiva Rao (CPI)

Kunamneni Sambasiva Rao (born 1966) is a leader of the Communist Party of India (CPI). He was elected as a member of the Andhra Pradesh Legislative Assembly from Kothagudem in 2009. He was elected as secretary of the CPI Telangana State Council in September 2022.

Lakkineni Surender Rao (JSP)

Lakkineni Surender Rao a native of Tekulapally is the DCCB director of Bhadradri Kothagudem district. A staunch follower of Janasena Party president Pawan Kalyan, he is testing the political waters for the first time. The party allocated him this seat under seat adjustment with the BJP.

Assembly constituency information


It is the headquarters of Bhadradri Kothagudem district. It includes the towns of Kothagudem, and Palwancha and are part of Khammam Lok Sabha constituency and consists of Kothagudem, Palwancha, Sujatanagar, Chunchupally, and Laxmidevipalli mandals. The district is endowed with a variety of important minerals such as coal. The Singareni Collieries Company Limited has its headquarters in Kothagudem.

Background: Kothagudem has been a Congress stronghold since its inception. Traditionally, the fight is always between the TDP and the Congress. However, after the formation of the Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS), it was able to win the constituency by splitting the votes of the TDP and the Congress. In the last nine elections, the Congress has won the seat four times, the TDP won four times and the BRS won once. It is an urban constituency with a dominant BC community.

MLA profile

• Political background: Vanama Venkateswara Rao started his political career in the Congress as a ward member in Palwancha and later became chairperson of Palwancha Municipality.

In the 1989 Assembly elections, he contested on a Congress ticket and won the election. In the subsequent 1998 and 2004 Assembly elections, he contested and was elected from the same constituency. He was made Minister for Health in 2007-2009.

• He again contested for Kothagudem in 2009. He lost the election because of a vote split between the TDP-CPI alliance and the PRP.

• He is accessible to the general public.

• In Khammam district, he was with Renuka Chowdhary(ex-MP).

• He contested the 2018 Assembly elections on the Congress ticket and was elected as an MLA. Later, he switched to the TRS.

• The important reason for his loss in 2009, and in the 2014 Assembly elections was a split of votes between him and his brother-in-law Adavalli Krishna.

• His son Raghava is active in politics. However, he gained a bad reputation over the years due to his arrogant behaviour towards the party cadre, overnment employees, and the general public.

Profession: Farming

Financial strength: Moderate

Kothagudem famous for

• Singareni Collieries

• Kinnerasani project

• Kothagudem thermal power station

2014 Assembly analysis:

  • Jalagam Venkata Rao comes from a political family. His father, Jalagam Vengala Rao, was Chief Minister in erstwhile Andhra Pradesh.
  • He contested from Kothagudem in the 2014 Assembly elections on the TRS ticket.
  • He is the only TRS candidate to win the election in the entire Khammam district, which consisted of eight seats.
  • His victory was possible because of a split in votes between the CPI, the YSRCP, and an independent candidate.
  • The pre-poll alliance between the Congress and the CPI didn't achieve the desired results. This seat was allotted to the CPI but the Congress contender Vanama Venkateswar Rao didn't accept the arrangement and joined the YSRC and contested as its MLA candidate there by taking away the Congress votes with him.
  • Adavalli Krishna(brother-in-law of Vanama Venkateswara Rao) contested as an Independent candidate there by taking some votes with him.
  • There was a strong anti-incumbency against the sitting MLA from the CPI which also helped Jalagam Venkata Rao (MLA). His family background also helped him in the election. Kamma and the Muslim community also supported him
  • Jalagam Venkata Rao of the TRS was able to secure 30.6 percent of votes, Vanama Venkateswara Rao (YSRCP) was able to secure 20.6 percent of votes, Koneru Satyanaraya (TDP) was able to secure 17.5 percent and, Adavalli Krishna (Independent) was able to secure 13.5 percent of votes.

2018 Assembly analysis:

  • Clashes between groups of ex-MLA Jalagam Venkata Rao and ex-MP Ponguleti Srinivas Reddy made it easy for Congress to win with low margins.
  • During 2018, the Ponguleti Srinivas Reddy group didn't favour Jalagam Venkateshwer Rao's candidature and their group favoured the Congress. This resulted in the splitting of the TRS votes in favour of the Congress resulting in the loss of TRS with 2.39% votes.
  • Though the TRS had an advantage over the Congress, group politics in the TRS gave the Congress an edge. The alliance between the TDP and the Congress also worked in favour of the Congress candidate.
  • Anti-incumbency coupled with inaccessibility to the general public, and water shortage in Kothagudem and Palwancha municipalities played a role in the sitting MLA's loss.
  • After the Assembly elections, MLA Vanama Venkateswar Rao joined the ruling TRS, this led to infighting between MLA and Jalagam Venkata Rao groups.
  • Vanama Venkateswara Rao (then Congress) secured 46.7 percent of votes, Jalagam Venkata Rao (TRS) was able to secure 44.4 percent of votes while independent Adavalli Krishna was able to secure 3.2 percent of votes. The BJP secured less than 1 percent of votes in this constituency.

Current situation

In July 2023, the Telangana High Court declared BRS MLA Vanama Venkateswara Rao's 2018 election from Kothagudem as void and fined him Rs 5,00,000 for submitting a wrong affidavit.

But the Supreme Court in August, stayed Telangana High Court’s orders in disqualifying him as an MLA and declaring his 2018 election null and void.

• Presently, there is a tough challenge to the sitting MLA in the form of anti-incumbency and also dissatisfaction for his defection to the BRS party.

• Congress is facing a leadership crisis and there is no visible face to fight the ruling BRS.

• There is no improvement in the BJP's position. In recently held municipal elections, the BJP was unable to win a single ward. The BJP needs to poach some leaders from the ruling BRS and needs to develop a party structure.

Local issues

Drinking water

Maintenance of roads in Kothagudem town

Lack of cleanliness in Kothagudem

Colliery issues

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