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Political

Win eludes Congress in Medak, once represented by Indira Gandhi

PUNJAB NEWS LINE | April 19, 2024 02:35 PM

HYDERABAD: The Congress is still in search of its first win since 1998 in the Medak constituency, which was once represented by former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi.

The BJP won the seat in 1999 but it has been the citadel of the TRS (now BRS) since 2004.

This time the constituency is set to witness a close three-cornered contest with the Congress making a determined bid to regain the lost ground. After capturing power in the state in recent elections, the party is confident of wresting it from BRS.

For the first time in a decade, the BRS looks relatively weak after losing power and defection of several key leaders to either Congress or BJP but the BRS continues to maintain its grip in Medak, the home district of the party supremo and former Chief Minister K. Chandrasekhar Rao (KCR).

The BJP is also keen to repeat its performance of 1999 when A. Narendra was elected from here. He later shifted loyalty to the BRS and was elected for a second term on the BRS ticket in 2004.

In 2019, Kotha Prabhakar Reddy retained the seat with a massive majority of over 3.16 lakh votes against Gali Anil Kumar of Congress. BJP’s M. Raghunandan Rao was a distant third.

Raghunandan Rao, who was defeated in Dubbak, one of the Assembly segments under Medak, in 2018, won the by-election from Dubbak in 2020. In fact his victory by a slender margin of 1,079 votes against BRS candidate Solipeta Sujatha Reddy marked the beginning of BJP’s rise in Telangana politics.

However, in the recent Assembly elections, Raghunandan Rao failed to retain the seat. Prabhakar Reddy, who was shifted from Parliament seat to Assembly segment, defeated him by a big majority of over 53,000 votes.

The saffron party has once again fielded Raghunandan Rao, a lawyer, from Medak Lok Sabha seat.

In the Assembly elections held on November 30, 2023, the BRS won six out of seven Assembly segments under the Medak parliamentary constituency. These include Gajwel which was retained by KCR.

Another key constituency retained by BRS is Siddipet, which has been the stronghold of the KCR family since 1985. In the recent polls, KCR’s nephew and former minister T. Harish Rao bagged Siddipet for the seventh consecutive time, surpassing KCR who had won it six times.

The only Assembly segment won by the Congress party was Medak. This was the first victory for the grand old party in this segment after 1989. The party is looking to repeat this show in the Medak parliamentary constituency.

The Congress has fielded 41-year-old Neelam Madhu Mudiraj as its candidate while the BRS has fielded MLC P. Venkatram Reddy as its nominee.

Neelam Madhu began his political career in the BRS. He became sarpanch of his native village of Chitkul in Patancheru Assembly constituency.

Neelam Madhu had quit BRS to join Congress before the recent Assembly elections. The Congress had also announced him as the party candidate from Patancheru. However, following a protest by the followers of ticket aspirant K. Srinivas Goud, the party changed its candidate. Peeved over this, Neelam Madhu contested the election as a BSP candidate and finished third by securing over 46,000 votes. This led to the defeat of Congress candidate Srinivas Goud at the hands of BRS candidate Mahipal Reddy by 7,091 votes.

Indira Gandhi was elected from Medak in 1980 by a margin of over three lakh votes and represented the constituency till her assassination in 1984.

Telugu Desam Party (TDP), floated by legendary actor turned politician N. T. Rama Rao had wrested the seat from Congress in 1984.

Medak was a Congress bastion till 1998. Senior leader M. Baga Reddy was the last Congress MP to be elected from here. He won the seat for four consecutive terms in 1989, 1991, 1996 and 1998.

After KCR floated TRS in 2001 to revive the movement for statehood to Telangana, Medak became his stronghold.

In 2014, when the Assembly and Lok Sabha polls were held simultaneously, KCR contested and won from both Medak and Gajwel, but gave up the Lok Sabha seat to become the state's first chief minister.

Subsequently, TRS's Kotha Prabhakar Reddy won the Medak seat with a margin of 3,61,277 votes.

Facing one of the worst crises since the launch of the TRS, this is a prestige battle for KCR.

BRS P. Venkata Rami Reddy is a former Indian Administrative Service (IAS) officer.

As Siddipet district collector, he had triggered a row by touching the feet of KCR, then chief minister, during the inauguration of the new building of the district collectorate in June 2021. The same year he resigned from the job to join BRS. He was later nominated to the Legislative Council.

The BRS is seeking votes by projecting itself as the only party which can protect the interests of Telangana.

Raghunandan Rao is banking on the popularity of Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

Medak has over 16 lakh voters. The majority of the population in the constituency is dependent on agriculture.

Public sector industries like BHEL, BDL, ordnance factory and also IIT-Hyderabad, all located on the fringes of Hyderabad, are part of the Medak constituency.

 

 
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