HYDERABAD/KARIMNAGAR: The efforts of the Telangana Rashtra Samiti (TRS) and other major parties to convince independent candidates to withdraw their nominations from Huzurabad Assembly byelection proved futile.
As many as 30 candidates are remaining in the fray after the deadline to withdraw nominations ended on Wednesday. Barring the TRS, the BJP and the Congress, the rest of the 27 candidates are either independents or those representing registered unrecognised parties.
The TRS and the BJP which are engaged in a tug of war to win Huzurabad seat are worried over vote split due to independents and fear they may mar their winning prospects in the event of a 'photo finish' like Dubbak bypoll result. The TRS had lost to the BJP in Dubbak bypoll in November 2020 by a slender margin of 1,431 votes and the party leadership strongly feels that independents played spoilsport by splitting votes.
Of the total 61 candidates who had filed 91 sets of nominations from October 1 to 8, around 23 sets of nominations filed by 19 candidates were rejected and 42 candidates’ nominations got approval during the scrutiny phase which was completed on October 11.
Of the 42 candidates whose nominations got approval, 10 candidates are from registered political parties which include the names of three major political parties Gellu Srinivas Yadav of the TRS, Etala Rajendar of the BJP, Balmoor Venkat Narsing Rao of the Congress along with others. A total of 32 members were independent candidates which included Etala Jamuna, wife of Rajendar. Jamuna withdrew her nomination.
Despite the TRS and the BJP leaders putting their best efforts to convince independents to withdraw their nominations, only 12 withdrew nominations on the last day, leaving 30 candidates in the fray for the bypoll.
In Dubbak bypoll earlier, 23 candidates remained in the fray of whom 20 were independents or those from registered unrecognised parties. Bandaru Nagaraju, an independent candidate who was allotted chapati roller symbol which had a striking resemblance to the TRS car symbol on EVMs and ballot papers, polled a significant 3,570 votes to finish in the fourth place. He was also polled 60 ballot votes.
Since none of the other 19 independent candidates secured votes in this manner and got votes in just hundreds, the TRS believes that Nagaraju has split TRS votes with the identical symbol and helped the BJP win.