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TRS sitting pretty in India's largest constituency Malkajgiri

TRS sitting pretty in India's largest constituency Malkajgiri

Hyderabad: Malkajgiri, the largest Lok Sabha constituency in the country in terms of voters, will see a three-cornered contest but the Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) appears to be sitting pretty.

Spread over parts of Hyderabad and its outskirts, it is called a mini India for being home to large number of people from various parts of the country.

About 31 lakh voters, nearly half of them hailing from other states, are eligible to cast their franchise in April 11 elections.

A sizeable number among migrants are those with their roots in Andhra Pradesh.

It is one of the Lok Sabha seats which the ruling TRS is aiming to win for the first time.

This is the third election in the constituency, which came into being following the delimitation of constituencies a decade ago.

In the first election held here in 2009, the Congress party's Sarvey Satyanarayana was elected, defeating his nearest rival, the Telugu Desam Party's T. Bheemsen, by over 93,000 votes. The TRS then had an alliance with TDP.

In 2014, the TDP's Malla Reddy won the seat defeating M. Hanumanth Rao of the TRS by more than 28,000 votes. TDP had contested the polls in alliance with the BJP. In the simultaneous Assembly elections, TDP won four out of seven Assembly segments. Its ally BJP bagged one seat while TRS candidates were elected in two constituencies.

Malla Reddy, who runs engineering colleges, later defected to TRS. In the Assembly elections held in December 2018, he was elected from Medchal, one of the seven Assembly segments, and was inducted in the state cabinet.

This time, the TRS has fielded Malla Reddy's son-in-law Marri Rajasekhar Reddy. A newcomer in politics, he is locking horns with Congress party's Telangana unit working president Revanth Reddy and BJP's senior leader N. Ramchander Rao. Both the experienced politicians were defeated in the Assembly elections.

Rajasekhar Reddy is banking on his father-in-law and other TRS MLAs as they have been tasked to run the campaign in their respective constituencies.

Revanth Reddy, who lost from Kodangal in Vikarabad district, is considered a non-local in Malkajgiri but he is unfazed by the tag. He is confident that people will prefer Congress in the parliamentary elections. A bitter critic of TRS and Chief Minister K. Chandrashekhar Rao, he is known for oratory skills and has the ability to enthuse the cadres.

Revanth, who quit TDP to join Congress in 2017, and Ramachander Rao, who contested unsuccessfully from the Malkajgiri Assembly segment, are facing a tough task as their parties have no representation from Assembly segments that fall under the Lok Sabha constituency.

The BJP candidate hopes that the Narendra Modi factor will help him win the votes of the migrants from others states besides the middle-class among the locals.

In the recent Assembly elections, TRS won six Assembly segments. Congress party's Sudheer Reddy, who was elected from L.B. Nagar Assembly constituency, last month announced that he was joining TRS. He was one of the 10 Congress MLAs who defected to the ruling party, dealing a big blow to the opposition party.

In the Assembly elections the TRS polled 51.42 per cent votes in all seven segments put together. The 'Prajakutami' or Peoples' Alliance, led by the Congress secured 31.62 per cent votes while the BJP finished third with 9.26 per cent votes.

The TDP, which was part of the 'Prajakutami', failed to win a single Assembly segment here. Reeling under the crushing defeat in Assembly polls, the TDP is not contesting the Lok Sabha elections in Telangana. The Congress thus hopes to get the TDP votes. Communist Party of India (CPI) and the Telangana Jana Samithi (TJS), which were also constituents of the 'Prajakutami', have declared their support for Congress candidates.

In previous Lok Sabha elections, former IAS officer and Lok Satta Party leader Jayaprakash Narayan and former IPS officer and YSR Congress Party's leader V. Dinesh Reddy were also in the fray, both securing over one lakh votes each.

The YSR Congress , which stayed away from Assembly polls, is also not contesting the elections in Telangana. The TRS hopes to get the voters of YSR Congress sympathisers.

(Mohammed Shafeeq can be reached at m.shafeeq@ians.in)

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