Munugode Ground Report: Does 'car' zoom or 'lotus' bloom?

Which party Munugode is poised to favour? The TRS and the BJP are betting big for obvious reasons

Munugode Elections

MUNUGODE: It is cliched, if not crass, to say that the neutral voter holds the key to the result to decide the outcome of an election. Political parties usually claim that they are the hot favourites in the race. Analysts and observers may try and do an informed guess. Psephologists do a scientific sampling and analyse the data with a more methodical approach. They give a minimum error margin in their prediction of the result.

So, which side Munugode is poised towards? Cash and liquor do hold the key to success. Even this is an absurd cliché, for the voters accept the freebies but cast their votes in favour of their chosen ones. At least, for the dignity of democracy, this is a positive augury.

Sporting car symbol and an appeal to voters to vote for the Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS), a bespectacled KCR fan goes to every street corner and addresses a motley crowd why the BJP's Rajgopal Reddy should not be preferred and why the TRS must be elected. He does it in many villages in Munugode Assembly constituency, though he hails from Samsthan Narayanapur mandal headquarters.

Clearly KCR's public meeting jacked up the mood in the TRS, which is already riding on its crest, what with most schemes introduced in the last eight years of rule of TRS are known to electors by heart.

Last-minute cancellation of the public meeting of BJP national president J P Nadda has worked against Rajgopal Reddy, not because Nadda would impress the electors with his oratorical skills. Bit all those who expected to reap huge financial advantage by taking part in making arrangements. People were also disappointed as they could not get the "dearness allowance" to be given for attending public meetings. They were deprived of an estimated Rs.300 in cash and a biryani packet (veg. only) per person. Lava Kumar who came from Janagaon said the BJP was serving "pappu and rasam" for lunch and no non-veg. Another BJP activist, Sriram Kumar, smiling sheepishly, promised to "take NewsTAP team" to Ramappa Temple in old Warangal district where he has a vote, if the BJP wins in Munugode.

In a ground visit, NewsTAP team understood a few salient points that work to the advantage of and that are detrimental to the contestant political parties. We have considered only the BJP, the TRS and the Congress in this order. There is a reason behind this. The BJP nominee Komatireddy Rajgopal Reddy caused the byelection by resigning his seat and also to the Congress party on whose ticket he was elected in 2019 elections. The TRS contestant Kusukuntla Prabhakar Reddy is considered as the hot favourite for the seat and is representing the ruling party in the State. Palvai Sravanthi of the Congress is considered a challenger as it was the Congress seat in 2019 elections.

Now, take a look at the points observed:

1. There is no religious sentiment on which the BJP harps usually across India and there is no Jai Sri Ram slogan.

2. Most youths sporting BJP scarves and caps are being treated to honours like full tank petrol, breakfast, lunch, dinner, and drinks.

3. A lot of those youths are non-locals brought from not just neighbouring constituencies, but from places as far as Warangal and Pakala and even Nizamabad.

4. Many women expected the much-touted largesse one tola gold and are expecting huge cash distribution in the range of Rs.10,000 and above from Rajgopal Reddy. His makeshift campaign office at Munugode is plush and abuzz with swanky cars that never vroomed on the dusty tracts of the otherwise sleepy town. However, people resorted to tongue-lashing against the BJP nominee for belying their expectations, which were raised by rumour-mongers. Videos of women cursing the BJP for dismissing them with just Rs.3,000 per vote after raising hopes circulated widely in social media too.

5. Many people across different mandals have a liking for Rajgopal Reddy personally and this is palpable, cutting across party lines, because he personally gives money to many people in need for health, death, wedding, education, etc. They didn't like his politics. They feel he sold himself out to the BJP for the Rs.18,000-crore contract. This number is either popular or notorious.

6. Mallesham, who stopped by at a tea centre in Samsthan Narayanapur, said: "We are moving with Rajgopal's party processions. But how can anyone conclude we will vote for the BJP?" Asked if who were their preference, he shot back: "Can't you guess?".

7. As Communist are consolidating their lost ground in their erstwhile bastions like Munugode, Marriguda and Samsthan Narayanpurmandals, their traditional vote os set to be grossed by the TRS, thanks to the electoral pact.

8. KCR is much larger a political personality than it appears. The people's connect with KCR is so much that the BJP's political shenanigans are taken with a proverbial pinch of salt by the electors of Munugode.

9. The Chief Minister is considered their 'eldest son' not only for providing pensions, but there are many other reasons too. The biggest vote spinner for the TRS could be fluoride-free drinking water.

10. Prabhu Kumar, A Dalit Christian small farmer from Munugode tells us at Chalmeda, that fertiliser subsidy would make more sense than Rythu Bandhu henceforth. For, costs are escalating with time and Rythu Bandhu amount is fixed, since its inception. A comparison by small and marginal farmers having minimum landholding with a large farmer, who draws more money in the form of Rythu Bandhu is apparently turning out to be negative to the ruling party. However, elders and knowledgeable people are explaining the macro-economics to those sulking as to why the scheme is actually beneficial to a large number of farmers.

11. TRS nominee Kusukuntla Prabhakar Reddy is low profile person, but worked with people despite losing the 2018 election to Komatireddy Rajgopal Reddy.

12. Youth are pinning hopes on Dandu Malkapur industrial cluster aimed at giving employment to 35,000 people and it would be a big draw if the industrial park becomes a game-changer.

13. Another important factor the TRS can tilt the voter base towards itself depends on how much it gives in cash for votes. The amount must be more than what's given by the BJP. Raghunath, who runs a grocery store in Samsthan Narayanapur, is busy filling KYC forms of many beneficiaries to activate their respective SBI accounts – for obvious reasons. Similarly, Bharathi and many of her friends made a beeline in front of the post office to activate their savings account, also for the same reason/ Scene in front of most bank branches – Canara Bank, AP Gramina Vikas Bank, and others in many villages.

14. On the face of it, the TRS seems to be ahead of others. For, a large number of Congress sympathisers are also veering towards the TRS, although a big chunk of the Congressmen, who were personal supporters of Rajgopal Reddy, drifted to the BJP.

15. Congress candidate Palvai Sravanthi is harping on sympathy that never existed. The Congress camp is conspicuously desolate, because almost all Congress leaders are engrossed in Bharat Jodo Yatra. The Mahila Garjana organised on the last day is a last ditch effort to fight for second position.

16. Overall, Choutuppal mandal, with a large urban population, may give an edge to Rajgopal Reddy, Komatireddy Venkat Reddy is more influential here. There is a keen contest in two other mandals – Munugode and Chandur; while Samsthan Narayanpur, Marriguda, Gattuppal and Nampalle are preferring the TRS to the others. There have been many tribal hamlets (thandas) that were upgraded into village panchayats in the constituency and this surely gets most of the 5.7 per cent (13,000) Scheduled Tribe votes for the TRS, apart from the 3.5 per cent (8,000) minority votes. They would solidly go with the TRS, according to Raju of Dhaku Thanda.

17. There are huge number of BCs – 1,50,400 votes – of whom 38,000 are Gouds, 35,000 are golla kurumas, 34,500 are mudiraj, 19,000 are Padmasali; while Vaddera, Viswa Brahmana and Kummari are having 8,000 votes each. Gouds, Golla Kurumas, Mudirak and Weavers are important castes that reaped a lot of benefits from different schemes implemented by the State Government.

The irony is that all the major contending parties fielded Reddies who constitute a niggardly 3.3 per cent of t he electorate (7,701). Kamma, Velama and Vysya together ahave 10,000 votes of 3.7 per cent.

18. Women who are almost half the total number of electors are silently sailing with the TRS. They are silent but clear in their thoughts. This vote bank is what the Congress wants to break by invoking sentiment.

However, one must get back to the cliché of neutral voter that she/he, as always, holds the key to the final result.

Next Story

Similar Posts