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Winning LB Nagar constituency, an uphill task for RJP or BJP

HYDERABAD: Winning the LB Nagar Assembly seat will be an uphill task for the Rashtriya Jana Parishad (RJP) or Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) or any other political outfit, whose candidates have unsuccessfully contested earlier in the three previous elections held since it was sliced off the Malakpet constituency in the delimitation exercise before the 2009 polls.

It may be recalled that Rashtriya Jana Parishad (RJP) founder president MA Mujeeb contested in Malapert Assembly constituency on the Janata Dal (Secular) ticket in 1990s.

Historically, the voters in the constituency comprising educated, employees and middle-class, have been very flexible in their choice of the candidate. Before delimitation, both BJP, Congress and TDP had strong cadres in the area.

The first election held in 2009 after the constituency was formed paints a picture of diversity of the voters. At the time, D Sudheer Reddy had won on the Congress ticket with a margin of 13,142 votes against his nearest rival and TDP candidate SV Krishna Prasad.

Sama Ranga Reddy, the present Rangareddy urban district president of BJP, had contested on a Praja Rajyam ticket and secured 32,823 votes (16.79 per cent). Lok Satta Party’s candidate got 21,421 votes and BJP’s Akula Ramesh Goud, who served as chairman of LB Nagar municipality, was relegated to the 5th position.

In 2014, in spite of the TRS wave, TDP’s R Krishnaiah won the seat, as BJP conceded its seat due to a pre-poll alliance with TDP. However, TRS candidate M Ram Mohan Goud secured 71,791 votes, just short of 12,525 votes for a victory.

BJP fielded Perala Shekhar Rao, a full-time RSS worker, in the 2018 election, but the result was discouraging as he secured the third position. While Sudheer Reddy emerged victorious again, this time increasing his vote share to a whopping 47 per cent, TRS’ Ram Mohan Goud stood second, with 96,132 votes. Shekhar Rao could get only 21,502 votes (9 per cent).

Observers within the BJP tell TNIE that the cadre had not accepted him as their leader. In spite of Prime Minister Narendra Modi himself addressing people at the Saroornagar stadium before 2018 elections, his charisma failed to work.

As BJP prepares to take on the ruling party, one herculean task will be to pitch a strong candidate against an almost invincible Sudheer Reddy, who has shifted his loyalties to TRS after winning on a Congress’ ticket in 2018. He now enjoys the loyalties of both TRS and Congress cadre. This was evident when he fielded his own candidate from Congress for the byelection to Lingojiguda GHMC division and ensured his victory, after Ramesh Goud, corporator from BJP, had passed away.

Though TRS had agreed to make the byelection election unanimous to elect BJP’s candidate as a token of respect for Ramesh Goud, Sudheer Reddy, despite being in TRS, ensured the victory of Congress’ candidate.

On the other hand, BJP too has an opportunity here. The party swept all the divisions of the constituency in 2020 GHMC elections, sans the Lingojiguda seat. The BJP is strong at the division-level for decades, as its leaders like Subhash Reddy and Ramesh Goud had served as chairpersons of Gaddiannaram and LB Nagar municipalities in the past.

The RSS’ shakhas are still strong and operational, and the people still credit BJP for the development of many new colonies in LB Nagar which happened in the early years of 2000s, when party MLA N Indrasena Reddy represented Malakpet.

However, the absence of a strong candidate to take on Sudheer Reddy haunts the party. It is learnt that BJP State vice-president Dr G Manohar Reddy and Sama Ranga Reddy are both expecting a ticket. Only time will tell whether they are strong enough to win the battle for LB Nagar.

All the political calculations may change if BJP decides to get into an alliance, or if the Congress fields a strong candidate in the next election. Whatever be the political equations, it is certainly going to be money and muscle power that would tilt the scales in the next elections, feel observers.