TRS sweeps byelections

Kalvakuntla Chandrashekhar Rao has every reason to smile. The Telangana agitation spearheaded by his TRS received an overwhelming endorsement when his party swept to an epoch-making victory in 11 seats, while his new political ally, the BJP, won the Nizamabad urban constituency. As Rosaiah’s Congress and Chandrababu Naidu’s TDP nurse their wounds given the drubbing they received in the bypolls, the results of which were announced on Friday, it has emerged doubly clear that the nearly four crore populace of the region would settle for nothing less than a new Telangana state. While the impressive win of TRS would enhance KCR’s standing in the region as a satrap championing the T-cause, both Congress and TDP have much to ponder over. “It’s a vote for commitment more than the sentiment,” was how KCR’s son and Sircilla candidate K Tarakarama Rao put it after his victory. The ruling Congress suffered a major setback with the party state unit president D Srinivas losing the Nizamabad Urban seat by 11,981 votes to BJP’s Yendala Lakshminarayana. While DS was smarting under a second successive defeat in more than a year, TRS candidates scored impressive victories in Siddipet, Dharmapuri, Vemulawada, Chennur, Mancherial and Sirpur seats. KCR’s nephew and TRS candidate Tanneeru Harish Rao coasted to victory in Siddipet by a margin of 95,000 votes, while Ch Ramesh emerged victorious in Vemulawada by a big margin of 50,361 votes. The results in five seats — Warangal West, Yellareddy, Huzurabad, Sircilla and Korutla — where ballot boxes were used as there were more candidates than the electronic voting machine (EVM) could list trickled in late. In these seats also, TRS candidates scored emphatic wins. The TRS spared no effort to win the 10 seats it had resigned knowing well that any setback would severely dent KCR’s standing in the region. “This result is a big political boost for KCR,” a political analyst said. Before the votes were cast on July 27, the TRS chief had said: “All 12 Congress candidates, including DS, should lose their deposit. Only then will Sonia Gandhi realise the heat of Telangana sentiment.” Indeed, Friday’s verdict said it all as political pundits observed that the results cannot be passed off as a ‘TRS demand for separate Telangana’ only. The groundswell of support for TRS and separate statehood cause would do well pave the way for TRS to sell the T-line to the Centre that sentiment does run deep and that formation of separate Telangana is the larger aspiration of the people. “This is a victory of Telangana sentiment. We dedicate this victory to all those who sacrificed their lives for the sake of separate Telangana,” Harish Rao said. He added, “this should be a message to the Centre. They should immediately form separate Telangana state.”

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