Why KCR is contesting from Gajwel, Kamareddy Assembly seats?

Here are the 10 reasons for such a meticulous decision

Why KCR is contesting from Gajwel, Kamareddy Assembly seats?

HYDERABAD: This senior most legislator in Telangana Assembly, who also has the longest legislative experience as a Member of the Legislative Assembly and also Lok Sabha from the State, has been the harbinger of separate Telangana movement, and he eats, breaths and sleeps politics.

This indefatigable public representative, who never tasted defeat in 38 years of his career, is raring to go to and will achieve another remarkable feat of becoming a hattrick Chief Minister if his party, the Bharat Rashtra Samithi, is elected to power in the forthcoming elections to the Telangana Assembly. We are talking about Kalvakuntla Chandrashekar Rao (KCR), the maiden Chief Minister of Telangana.

Why is KCR seeking election from two Assembly constituencies?

Here are the 10 reasons for such a meticulous decision:

1. It’s surely not as if KCR is diffident about his victory in Gajwel Assembly seat, as is being made out by Telangana Pradesh Congress Committee (TPCC) president A Revanth Reddy and Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) Telangana unit chief and Union Minister G Kishan Reddy. Incidentally neither of them can rival KCR either in political stature, legislative experience and manoeuvring abilities. By contesting from Gajwel, KCR wants to showcase to all that it is his bastion akin to Siddipet which had elected him for six times since 1985 (1985, 1989, 1994, 1999, 2001 bypoll, and 2004). He actually had three other options – erstwhile districts of Nizamabad, Nalgonda and Khammam -- to choose a second constituency from. But he preferred Kamareddy (in the erstwhile Nizamabad district) to the other two districts for a specific reason.

2. KCR was elected from Siddipet Assembly seat and Karimnagar Lok Sabha seat in 2004 simultaneous elections, in an alliance with the Congress. He defeated BJP candidate and then Union Minister of State for Home Affairs Ch Vidyasagar Rao with a margin of 1,31,168 votes. Thus, he had tackled down the stronghold of the tall BJP leader who had won this seat in 1998 and also 1999 Lok Sabha elections. Vidyasagar Rao was also a long-time MLA from the district. KCR resigned from Siddipet Assembly seat and retained Karimnagar in 2004, as he was inducted into the Manmohan Singh Cabinet of the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) soon after the elections.

3. Calling the bluff of the Congress, a beaming KCR gave up his coveted position as a Union Cabinet Minister in 2006. With a view to establishing the fact that the Telangana sentiment was strong in the region, he had resigned from his Lok Sabha seat and sought a re-election from there defeating T Jeevan Reddy of the Congress in a bypoll with a staggering margin of 2,01,582 votes silencing all his critics. Accepting a challenge from then Andhra Pradesh Congress Committee president M Satyanarayana Rao, KCR once again resigned from his Lok Sabha seat along with four of his colleague MPs of the Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) – Ale Narendra (Medak), B Vinod Kumar (Hanamkonda), T Madhusudan Reddy (Adilabad) and D Ravindra Naik (Warangal). KCR again contested from Karimnagar and defeated T Jeevan Reddy with a slender margin of over 15,000 votes in a fiercely fought battle. Thus, he became confident that he could successfully spread the Telangana sentiment in Karimnagar district.

4. Surprising everyone, KCR chose to contest from Mahbubnagar Lok Sabha seat in 2009 elections. In fact, Telangana sentiment was yet to catch up so much in Mahbubnagar district by then. He, however, demonstrated his courage by seeking an election from South Telangana and defeated sitting Congress MP D Vittal Rao by a margin of over 20,000 votes. Being a local MP of Mahbubnagar district, KCR could consolidate the TRS party’s position in this region and he, for sure, believes that his presence in the fray boosts the chances of his colleague contestants from his party across the district. This proved right.

5. After the demise of Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister YS Rajasekhara Reddy in a tragic helicopter accident, KCR amplified the separate Telangana agitation in a systematic manner. His historic hunger strike forced the Congress high command and UPA Government to yield ground and for the first time an announcement was made on the formation of a separate Telangana on December 9, 2009. However, the Congress had retracted and indulged in all kinds of politicking to dodge and duck over the demand. But an unrelenting crusader that he is, KCR spearheaded a spirited agitation for a separate State and achieved it 2013 and the new State was formed in 2014 soon after the simultaneous elections to the Lok Sabha and the Assembly. This time, KCR contested from Gajwel Assembly seat and also Medak Lok Sabha seat which he had vacated as he became the first Chief Minister of Telangana State.

6. He, however, did not contest from a second seat in 2018 Assembly elections as he had seen a clear political supremacy for his party over the rivals. It’s for this exact reason he went for dissolution of the Assembly and an early poll in 2018. The TRS scripted history by registering a resounding victory.

7. On the threshold of 2023 Assembly elections, KCR, who had seen some political rough patches in the State, wanted to level the ground. With the BJP, which tried to emerge as a challenger, losing its fizz soon after its humiliating defeat in the neighbouring Karnataka early this year (May 2023), it has become mellowed down. The removal of Bandi Sanjay from the Telangana BJP presidency inadvertently strengthened the Bharat Rashtra Samithi (the erstwhile TRS), as the threat perception from the BJP’s Karimnagar leaders has dissipated. At the same time, the hopes of the Telangana Congress were rekindled with the grand old party’s victory in Karnataka. Emboldened by this, the Congress sidelined the BJP from the pole position as the main challenger to the BRS and regained that lost ground. This naturally prompted KCR to set his eyes on the erstwhile Nizamabad district. In fact, his daughter K Kavitha lost the Lok Sabha election in 2019 to BJP candidate Dharmapuri Arvind. Also, there is a strong Congress leader and former minister Mohammed Ali Shabbir who is working overtime to wrest the Kamareddy Assembly seat from Gampa Govardhan of the BRS. However, on Govardhan’s volition to vacate the seat to facilitate KCR to contest, the Telangana Chief Minister obliged Govardhan and will now be contesting from Kamareddy also. The presence of KCR in Kamareddy would impact the elections in all the Assembly and also Lok Sabha constituencies in the erstwhile Nizamabad district, buttressing the chances of the BRS candidates. If KCR’s calculated move bears fruit, both Arvind and Shabbir Ali would have to pack their bags.

8. In fact, KCR disappointed Revanth Reddy, as the latter has been provoking the Chief Minister to state whether he would be contesting from his current Gajwel seat at all. By entering the fray from two Assembly seats, KCR obliquely asserted that Gajwel continues to be his bastion. In a way, Revanth Reddy must be heaving a sigh of relief, for KCR hasn’t chosen Nalgonda. It is said that Revanth Reddy is contemplating contesting from his native Kodangal Assembly seat where he was defeated in 2018 Assembly elections and also one constituency in erstwhile Nalgonda district. Gripped by this fear and apprehension that Revanth Reddy had constantly poked KCR on whether or not the latter would contest from Gajwel.

9. What happens when KCR wins both seats and hits a hattrick as the Chief Minister? In the immediate future before the Lok Sabha elections, he may give up Gajwel seat and retain Kamareddy for obvious political reasons. How the politics would pan out by the time the country goes to polls in 2024 is too early to guess.

10. Last but not the least, KCR’s wife hails from Konapur in Kamareddy Assembly constituency and he is the son-in-law of this constituency with a lot of followers, friends and family members residing there.

Considering all these reasons, KCR has chosen to contest from two Assembly seats and demonstrate his political grit and determination.

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