Polling begins in Telangana: Congress eyes to dethrone BRS; BJP puts up spirited fight

CM KCR is contesting from two segments-- Gajwel and Kamareddy

Untitled design - 1 BRS chief K Chandrasekhar Rao, Congress leaders Priyanka Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi and Prime Minister Narendra Modi in Telangana during campaigning | PTI

The voting to elect 119 members to the Telangana Legislative Assembly began amid tight security on Thursday morning across 35,655 polling stations. While the polling will end at 4 pm in 13 Left Wing Extremism (LWE) affected areas, it will extend till 5 pm in the remaining 106 constituencies.

About 77,000 security personnel, comprising state police and Home Guards drawn from the state and neighbouring states, besides 375 companies of Central Armed Police Forces (CAPF), have been deployed across the state as part of the security arrangements for the election.

The multi-pronged elections will see the ruling party BRS aiming for a hat trick while Congress, which has put up a high-octane campaign, vies to come to power for the first time after the state's formation in 2014. BJP too have put up a spirited fight, which saw Prime Minister Narendra Modi holding road shows and addressing multiple election rallies. 

While the BRS will face the elections alone in all 119 seats, Congress has fielded candidates in 118 seats while it has given one seat to its ally CPI. As per the seat-sharing agreement, BJP and actor Pawan Kalyan-headed Jana Sena are contesting in 111 and 8 seats respectively.

Others in the fray include Asaduddin Owaisi-led AIMIM, which contests from nine segments in the city.

KCR vs Revanth Reddy

Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao will contest from two segments-- Gajwel and Kamareddy. Congress has fielded its state president Revanth Reddy to take on the chief minister in Kamareddy. The constituency also has BJP's Venkata Ramana Reddy putting up a tight fight. In Gajwel, BJP has deployed its election campaign chairman Eatala Rajender against CM Rao.

Also Read: 'Congress will form govt on Dec 9, Sonia Gandhi's birthday': Telangana party president

Revanth Reddy, a Lok Sabha member, is also contesting from Kodangal which he had represented earlier. BJP's Rajender is seeking re-election from Huzurabad.

High-octane campaign

The campaigning witnessed all senior leaders from the saffron party and the Congress touching the ground in Telangana. For the BRS, Chief Minister KCR was at the helm of the campaign, addressing as many as 96 public meetings. BRS working president and KCR's son K T Rama Rao also campaigned extensively for BRS.  

The ruling party opted to focus on its ongoing welfare measures for farmers and women. Rao also highlighted his struggle to achieve Telangana statehood.

Besides the Prime Minister, senior BJP leaders, Union Ministers Amit Shah, Rajnath Singh, Nitin Gadkari, Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath, and his Assam counterpart Himanta Biswa Sarma campaigned in Telangana. While highlighting the "double engine government" as a poll plank, the BJP also promised to make a backward caste leader as CM. Other promises included the empowerment of Madigas and arranging free visits to Lord Ram temple at Ayodhya during its campaign. The BJP leaders also hit out at the "family rule" of KCR and alleged corruption. 

As for Congress, the campaign was focused on the alleged corruption of the BRS government while highlighting its six poll guarantees. The grand old party's campaign was led by its leaders Mallikarjun Kharge, Rahul Gandhi, Priyanka Gandhi Vadra and Revanth Reddy.

Join our WhatsApp Channel to get the latest news, exclusives and videos on WhatsApp