Munugodu raises hopes among BJP, Congress, TRS

There is neither sympathy nor was it an emotive issue and it is a million-dollar question how Rajgopal Reddy will be going back to his electorate

Munugodu raises hopes among BJP, Congress, TRS

HYDERABAD: Looks like, Komatireddy Rajgopal Reddy, who quit the Congress party while also relinquishing his legislative Assembly membership on Tuesday evening, is only moving from one predicament to the other. The gauntlet thrown by him opening up a by-election prospect for the Munugodu Assembly seat may only end up troubling him, more than anyone else.

Rajgopal Reddy may have personally desired to stretch his resignation teaser for a few more months. But the prevailing mood in the Congress party -- which apparently was hell-bent on seeing his exit -- and even in the BJP which is reportedly beckoning him into its fold, was not all that favourable to him. Ironically, the younger of the Komatireddy brothers had to bite the bullet (read resignation), under duress from both the Congress and the BJP.

Have a mountain to climb

Back at square one, Rajgopal Reddy stares at a huge mountain to climb, in the form of the Munugodu by-election. It is an all-pervading opinion that the former Congress leader was not likely to have it easy in the event of a by-election here, for a mix of reasons. The Komatireddy family, especially the two brothers, have traditionally been maintaining a stranglehold on Munugodu and even the entire erstwhile combined Nalgonda district.

They weathered many a political storm and successfully stonewalled the TRS and the BJP from sweeping the Congress off its feet in this region. But now, standing at the threshold of yet another by-poll, Rajgopal Reddy would only be too aware of the fact that the political dynamics are completely different on the ground this time.

One of the most ominous signs for the former Congress leader is the lack of a sympathy factor like it was felt in the case of Etela Rajender. On the contrary, the hype and speculation around his resignation sent out the message loud and clear that his deserting the Congress was influenced more by his personal business interests and not rooted in his constituency.

There is neither sympathy nor was it an emotive issue and it is a million-dollar question how Rajgopal Reddy will be going back to his electorate and what is his USP to win their votes in droves. His political mettle will be truly tested this time around with both the Congress and the ruling TRS taking this contest very seriously. The grand-old party is fully aware of the gravity of an adverse outcome on the 2024 Assembly elections. Under TPCC chief Revanth Reddy, the party is harbouring hopes of a grand revival to give the TRS a run for its money.

Almost on a last-gasp attempt in Telangana, the Congress party is leaving no stone unturned to reclaim the seat and safeguard its image before the 2024 showdown.

There are already tell-tale signs of this mood in the form of typical optics. Rajgopal Reddy's effigies were burnt by the Congressmen at a few places since Tuesday. Fire crackers were burst at Gandhi Bhavan as if to signal that the entire TPCC was treating his exit as good-riddance. TPCC chief Revanth Reddy, in his reaction to the resignation, called it a suicide and alleged that the leader was switching his loyalties to the BJP only for his personal business interests.

Showing its seriousness, the grand old party has appointed a team to chalk out an action plan for the Munugodu by-election. A meeting is going to be convened on August 5 to discuss ways to keep its flock together in the constituency and find a potent successor to Rajgopal Reddy there. Given these factors, it would be a daunting task for the Komatireddy brother to ensure a replay of the 2018 result.

BJP pins hopes on Komatireddy clout

The BJP, which had tasted successes in the recent by-elections in Dubbaka and Huzurabad, is confident of adding one more to its kitty. The party, which had to be content with only one seat, Goshamahal, after the 20i8 elections, succeeded in its plan to force yet another by-election on the state before the full-scale Assembly elections. Despite the fact that it was relegated to a poor third in Munugodu in the 2019 elections, the BJP is upbeat about winning it this time around. The party feels that the Komatireddy clout will add to its local strength which, it thinks, will translate into a sure-shot victory.

TRS looking to steal the thunder

The ruling TRS, initially not inclined to face yet another by-election, may end up as the biggest beneficiary of a triangular contest here. Ever since it sensed the mood in the Congress camp, the ruling party had quickly swung into action mode by focusing on issues at the grass-roots level on a war-footing.

A new mandal in the name of Gattuppal, a demand that had been hanging fire for quite some time, was announced. There is a generous spending of funds to clear all the pending civic issues in an obvious bid to attract the voters to the TRS fold. A mini 'operation aakarsh' is going on in full steam to lure local leaders of opposition parties with significant hold on their respective pockets.

While KCR himself was closeted twice with the TRS leaders of Nalgonda, his son KTR is busy coordinating the constituency-level leaders to arrive at the most ideal strategy to be adopted for the by-election. Conscious of the lessons learnt from the Dubbaka and Huzurabad by-poll experiences, the party is cautious enough this time to avoid an overdose of hype and hoopla and instead is proceeding with a calibrated approach. In a nutshell, the ruling party has given up flamboyance for the sake of meticulous planning and its painstaking execution to ensure a certain victory.

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