All major contestants confident of winning Dubbak bypoll

Hyderabad, Nov 4 (IANS) After heavy turnout in Tuesday’s by-election in Dubbak Assembly constituency in Telangana, all three major contestants are equally confident of victory.

The constituency recorded 82.61 per cent polling, which was incident-free.

While the Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) remained confident of retaining the seat with a massive victory margin, opposition Congress and Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) were also sure of their prospects.

Thanking the voters for turning up in large numbers to cast their votes despite the threat of Covid-19, Finance Minister T. Harish Rao exuded confidence that TRS will win by a huge margin.

Harish Rao, who single handedly managed the TRS campaign, claimed that high voter turnout is the testimony of good administration.

Slamming both the BJP and the Congress for spreading lies during the campaign, he alleged that the BJP tried to mislead people from day one.

The TRS leader said the BJP leaders were caught red-handed distributing money among voters but made baseless allegations against the TRS.

Harish Rao said that the BJP leaders hatched conspiracies and spread many lies like Congress candidate Cheruku Srinivas Reddy would be joining the TRS and that the TRS leaders would indulge in bogus voting during last two hours by snapping the electricity to polling centres.

“Despite all their false propaganda, the TRS will retain the seat with a huge majority,” he said.

State Congress president N. Uttam Kumar Reddy thanked the voters and exuded confidence that his party will wrest Dubbak from the TRS.

Alleging that the BJP and the TRS circulated a morphed video on social media to mar the prospects of the Congress, he urged the election authorities and police to take action against those who circulated the video with logo of a leading Telugu news channel. It was claimed in the video that the Congress candidate pulled out from contest and joined the TRS.

BJP state President Bandi Sanjay Kumar also expressed the confidence of a BJP win in Dubbak. He claimed that the people voted for the BJP as they believe that it alone could bring a change in politics of Telangana.

“The high polling percentage is a clear indication that BJP will win the by-election. People have rejected both TRS and Congress,” he said.

The MP from Karimnagar said the people of Dubbak were determined to teach a lesson to the TRS which hatched many conspiracies due to fear of defeat.

Counting of votes will be taken up on November 10.

A total of 1,98,807 voters comprising 97,978 men, 1,00,778 women and 51 service voters, were eligible to cast their votes.

The polling percentage has come down compared to 2018 elections, when 89.85 per cent voters had cast their votes.

A total of 23 candidates were in the fray for the by-poll, necessitated by the death of S. Ramalinga Reddy of the TRS in August this year due to ill-health.

The TRS fielded Ramalinga Reddy’s widow S. Sujatha. She was locked in a three-cornered contest with Congress’ Cheruku Srinivas Reddy and BJP’s M. Raghunandan Rao.

While Sujatha and Srinivas Reddy, son of former minister Cheruku Muthyam Reddy, are contesting the polls for the first time, Raghunandan Rao had finished third both in 2014 and 2018 polls in the same constituency.

Chief Minister K. Chandrasekhar Rao and his son K. T. Rama Rao, a cabinet minister and Working President of TRS, both stayed away from campaign, which was led by Chandrasekhar Rao’s nephew Harish Rao.

The acrimonious campaign saw the leaders of three major parties trading allegations and counter allegations. The seizure of cash from relatives of the BJP candidate kicked up a row with the saffron party alleging that the TRS planted the money as it was scared of defeat.

Police said out of Rs 18.67 lakh seized from a relative of Raghunandan Rao in Siddipet town on October 26, the BJP leaders snatched Rs 12.80 lakh from officials.

Police also seized Rs 1 crore cash from another of BJP candidate in Hyderabad on November 1. It claimed that the money was being transported to Dubbak for distribution among voters.

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