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Dubbaka Bypoll an alarm bell for TRS’ overconfidence

From the beginning, BJP’s M. Raghunandan Rao stayed the frontrunner in multiple rounds of counting in the Dubbaka byelection. The Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) candidate Solipeta Sujatha took the lead for the first time only by the 19th round, by about 250 votes. Even that did not last. 
 
Raghunandan Rao, who was a hardcore Telangana supporter and part of TRS until 2013, tasted victory with the BJP this time after three consecutive defeats in the constituency. 
 
Conceding defeat, TRS working president K.T. Rama Rao said it is a a wake-up call for party leaders not to be complacent about the party’s position in the state. Municipal elections are due in Hyderabad in a couple of months and the BJP would hope to take the momentum from Dubbaka victory to the battle in Hyderabad.
 
Dubbaks became a high-stakes battle for all three main political parties in the fight. The TRS had put up the widow of the sitting MLA, Solipeta Ramalinga Reddy, whose death had made the bypoll necessary. Finance minister Harish Rao was the chief strategist for the party in the bypoll. The Congress candidate was Ch Srinivas Reddy, son of Ch Muthyam Reddy who had represented Dubbak after the 2009 elections.
 
The BJP had put up Raghunandan Rao even though he lost the assembly elections in 2014 and 2018 and also the 2019 Lok Sabha election from here. With a new state party chief in Bandi Sanjay, Karimnagar MP, the BJP seemed to put its full strength to win this one.
 
In the run-up to the election, there were multiple seizures of huge amounts of cash that were allegedly linked to the BJP candidate, even though the TRS claimed the BJP candidate would lose his deposit.
 
Dubbaka is surrounded by TRS’ bastion. Medak is represented by Chief Minister K. Chandrashekar Rao, Sircilla by his son and municipal administration minister K.T. Rama Rao and Siddipet by Harish Rao. The opposition parties told voters was that while these neighbouring constituencies were pampered, Dubbaka had been neglected.
 
This is the second MLA segment for the BJP in Telangana. The only other seat represented by BJP’s Raja Singh in Goshamahal. The party has four MPs in the state from Secunderabad, Nizamabad, Karimnagar and Adilabad.
 
Interestingly, following the Lok Sabha election results in 2019, the BJP’s vote share in Telangana went up from 7% to nearly 20% between the Assembly and Central polls. The Dubbaka win for the BJP not only puts the party in renewed spirits to fight the GHMC elections with more enthusiasm, but also is a boost to their growing cadre in Telangana. 
 
The Bypoll result is also a serious wake-up call for the TRS which is now faced by anti-incumbency coupled with its lack of proper governance in Telangana.
 

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