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    As Telangana votes, here are the key seats to look for

    Synopsis

    Voting in Telangana is underway as the incumbent chief minister KCR takes on the combined might of Congress, TDP and the CPI.

    ET Bureau
    As Telangana votes today in a key test for incumbent chief minister K Chandrasekhar Rao as he takes on the combined strength of Congress, TDP & CPI, ET takes a look at the key seats that could swing the battle either way.

    Top Telangana seats to watch in 2018:

    *Gajwel


    Kalvakuntla Chandrashekar Rao – TRS

    Vanteru Pratap Reddy – Congress

    Akula Vijaya – BJP

    Gajwel is currently being represented by the Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) president and caretaker chief minister K Chandrashekar Rao (KCR). While KCR is popularly branded as highly inaccessible, including to his own cabinet colleagues, the Congress candidate Vanteu Pratap Reddy, who lost to KCR by around 19,000 votes in 2014, had spent most of the last four-and-a-half years in the constituency among the people and hopes to give tough competition to KCR this time around. Harish Rao, the caretaker irrigation minister and KCR’s nephew, known to be a successful poll strategist of the party, has spent most of the last three months in campaigning in Gajwel for his uncle KCR, apparently with a task to see that his uncle gets substantial majority this time around matching his own majority. This constituency is being watched keenly also in the backdrop of allegations by the Congress candidate that police forces had acted with unprecedented prejudice and harassed his party activists, apart from aiding money distribution by the ruling party. Added to this curiosity, the former Congress Lok Sabha member Lagadapati Rajagopal has on Monday, while revealing the trends of his poll survey in favour of the Congress-led People’s Front, said KCR was facing tough time in his constituency.

    *Sirsilla

    KT Rama Rao - TRS

    KK Mahender Reddy - Congress

    N Narsa Goud - BJP

    Sirsilla is currently being represented by KT Rama Rao, caretaker IT and Industries minister and son of party president and caretaker chief minister KCR. Congress has fielded KK Mahender Reddy, a popular Telangana movement leader, who is hoping to give a tough fight to KTR. The poll outcome in this constituency assumed significance amidst the purported competition within the ruling party for supremacy and the talk that KTR may be made the chief minister, if not immediately at least after a few months when his father KCR decides to shift to national politics.

    *Siddipet

    T Harish Rao - TRS

    M Bhavani Reddy - TJS

    Narottam Reddy - BJP

    The ruling TRS party’s caretaker Irrigation Minister T Harish Rao, also the nephew of KCR, is representing the Siddipet constituency, once held by his uncle KCR. Harish, who got elected five times from Siddipet, including bypolls resulting from resignations by the TRS lawmakers during more than a decade long agitation for Telangana, won in 2014 with a record majority of over 95,000 votes. While his victory with similar majority is being widely expected given his popularity in the constituency and developmental works, the constituency is being keenly watched with a curiosity to compare his majority with other top leaders in his party, including the party president KCR and his son KTR.

    *Kodangal

    A Revanth Reddy – Congress

    Patnam Narender Reddy – TRS

    N Namaji – BJP

    Kodangal is being represented by the Congress Working President Revanth Reddy, a highly vocal leader who got elected from the TDP in 2014 and moved to Congress last year. Revanth Reddy, who was once with TRS during the Telangana agitation, has over the years emerged as a firebrand leader in Telangana and a vocal critic of KCR. The ruling party has taken it as a challenge to defeat Revanth Reddy by deploying all its resources. KCR’s son KTR and nephew Harish Rao addressed several rallies and public meetings, apart from Harish camping in there for weeks to oversee the campaign. TRS has fielded the interim minister Patnam Mahender Reddy's brother Patnam Narender Reddy, who is now a member of legislative council. Amidst allegations over high handed attitude of police against the Opposition party leaders and cadres, the Telangana police have arrested Revanth Reddy and hundreds of his followers on wee hours of Tuesday and detained them for over 12 hours claiming it a preventive arrest as the Congress candidate had threatened to obstruct the public meetings of KCR in his constituency. Revanth Reddy was released only after the intervention of the Hyderabad High Court, which has pulled up the Telangana police. The Election Commission of India also intervened and ordered the transfer of the district superintendent of police T Annapurna along with orders not to use her services for election purposes.

    *Huzurnagar

    N Uttam Kumar Reddy – Congress

    S Saidi Reddy – TRS

    B Bhagya Reddy – BJP

    The constituency is now being represented by the Telangana Pradesh Congress Committee (TPCC) president Uttam Kumar Reddy. This is one of the half-a-dozen constituencies of the Congress that the ruling TRS is heavily focussing and deploying resources to defeat them. The ruling TRS has fielded Non Resident Indian Saidi Reddy against the TPCC president.

    *Nalgonda

    Komatireddy Venkat Reddy – Congress

    K Bhupal Reddy – TRS

    S Shanmukha – BJP

    Nalgonda is now represented by the Congress’ deputy floor leader Komatireddy Venkat Reddy, one of the top contenders for the chief minister’s post within the party. He is among the few vocal critics of KCR. The four time legislator, who had also served as minister in the YS Rajasekhara Reddy’s government, had resigned to his ministry and assembly seat demanding statehood to Telangana in 2010 and had even gone on a nine-day hunger strike. The ruling TRS had expelled Komatireddy from the Assembly, which was later faulted by the High Court that ordered revoking the expulsion.

    *Kukatpally

    Nandamuri Suhasini – TDP

    Madhavaram Krishna Rao – TRS

    Madhavaram Kantha Rao – BJP

    The constituency is being represented by Madhavaram Krishna Rao, who had defected to the ruling TRS after being elected on the TDP ticket in 2014 polls. The TDP, which has joined the Congress-led People’s Front keeping aside its more than three decades of hostility with Congress, is keen to win this seat and teach a fitting lesson to Krishna Rao for his betrayal. Apart from TDP supremo and Andhra Pradesh chief minister N Chandrababu Naidu, several top TDP leaders and film stars had campaigned for Suhasini, who is also granddaughter of the party founder NT Rama Rao (NTR). The constituency is being watched curiously across the state since it comprises of large population of migrants from Rayalaseema and Coastal Andhra regions of Andhra Pradesh.

    Chandrayangutta

    Akbaruddin Owaisi - AIMIM

    Syed Shehzadi - BJP

    Esa Misri - Congress

    Seetharam Reddy - TRS

    The vocal leader of Muslims and floor leader of AIMIM in the Telangana Assembly - Akbaruddin Owaisi - is representing the Chandrayangutta constituency. This seat is being watched keenly given the resources deployed by the BJP this time around, while fielding its young Muslim ABVP leader from the Osmania University - Shehzadi. The contest also assumes significance as the seat is being represented by the younger Owaisi for the fourth time and the opponents’ argument that the Hyderabad old city continues to remain undeveloped under the leadership of Owaisis and people were looking for a change.

    Goshamahal

    T. Raja Singh Lodh - BJP

    Premsingh Rathod - TRS

    Mukesh Goud - Congress

    BJP’s controversial Hindutva leader Raja Singh Lodh currently represents the Goshamahal constituency in the Hyderabad old city, which consists of sizeable Muslim voters. Raja Singh was slapped with at least 43 cases till date for hate speeches, promotion of enmity between different groups, and rioting, among others. Raja Singh, who also leads Gou Rakshak Movement in the old city of Hyderabad, had threated to kill the beef eaters and shoot the illegal Muslim migrants in India.
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