Huzurabad bypoll set for mid-September

Hyderabad: Sources have revealed that the Election Commission of India (ECI) has made up its mind to conduct the bypoll to the Huzurabad Assembly constituency in the state and declare its results before September 10.

The ECI, which will make its announcement in due course of time, will conduct bypolls in three states — and each one of them is crucial for the respective Chief Ministers.

The decision, and timing, is crucial for Tirath Singh Rawat, who was made the Chief Minister of Uttarakhand, replacing Trivendra Singh Rawat on March 10. Rawat was a member of the Lok Sabha from Pauri, when he took oath as the Chief Minister and as per the Constitution, he has to get elected as a state legislator before six months.

The ECI will also in high likelihood club the bypolls in West Bengal, where Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee has to win her own election as an MLA. Though Banerjee led her party to a thumping win in the state against the BJP, and took oath as Chief Minister for a third term, she lost her battle to become a legislator to Suvendu Adhikari in Nandigram by a narrow margin of 1,957 votes.

The results of Bengal elections were announced on May 2, and Banerjee took oath as Chief Minister on May 5. Though the EC and Banerjee have time till November 5 to conduct this election, they may be completed by the end of first week of September, in a bunch.

Along with the bypolls in Uttarakhand and West Bengal, the ECI is nearly certain to club the election for Huzurabad in Telangana state.

Etala Rajendar resigned from the TRS and as an MLA days after he was removed unceremoniously, first from his health ministry portfolio, and then as a minister from the Telangana state Cabinet by Chief Minister K. Chandrashekar Rao. His resignation as an MLA was accepted by Speaker Pocharam Srinivas on June 12, leaving a window for the bypoll to be held till December 12.

“The mood in Huzurabad is unimpeachable, strong and clear. People of Huzurabad feel their leader and son of their soil has been wrongly targeted and is being marginalised vindictively by TRS supremo Chandrashekar Rao. It is a fight between the self-respect of Huzurabad for Rajendar, who has represented, fought for and worked for every single family here, versus Chandrashekar Rao’s vindictiveness. They are keen to give a mammoth mandate to Rajendar,” said A.P. Jithender Reddy, BJP in-charge for the bypolls.

A TRS leader, speaking to this newspaper, said, “Since the sentiment is high for Rajendar in the constituency, we wanted the elections to be delayed as long as possible. But I learnt that recently Rajendar went and met some senior leaders in Delhi, asking for elections to be held quickly.”

Meanwhile, sources at the ground level in the constituency said that about 40 state intelligence officers had been deployed to profile each household for the probable voting behaviour and were conducting surveys. The first of such intelligence reports suggested that the TRS had a huge lead and was likely to win the elections.

A BJP ground worker scoffed at the report of the surveys. “Intelligence reports are aimed at pleasing their political bosses. The sway of pro-Rajendar sentiment in Huzurabad is unmistakable.”

The last two days also saw a surge in what will be a feature of the campaign — manufacturing and circulation of fake news. The BJP cadre found enthusiasm in the news that spread that Veeramalla Prakash, lawyer and founder member of the TRS, had met Rajendar and declared his support for his campaign.

Speaking to this newspaper, Prakash said, “It is an absolute lie. I am a Marxist in ideology and strongly opposed to the BJP. I can never support them.”

Huzurabad, unmistakably, will be the nucleus of all political action in the state till September comes.



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