Telangana elections 2018: KCR’s nephew set to create new victory record in sixth poll contest
T Harish Rao, state irrigation minister and nephew of Telangana Rashtra Samithi president and caretaker chief minister K Chandrasekhar Rao, is contesting for the sixth consecutive time from Siddipet assembly constituency and all set to score a double hat-trick.
Candidates of various political parties and their campaign managers are going around their constituencies to win the December 7 assembly elections in Telangana, but there is one leader who is virtually assured of his victory without even having to do anything. So much that the rival parties are facing trouble in finding a candidate to face him.
He is T Harish Rao, state irrigation minister and nephew of Telangana Rashtra Samithi president and caretaker chief minister K Chandrasekhar Rao. Contesting for the sixth consecutive time from Siddipet assembly constituency, Harish is all set to score a double hat-trick in the coming elections.
Ever since he was fielded from Siddipet for the first time in a by-election in 2004 when the seat was vacated by KCR on his election to Lok Sabha from Karimnagar, Harish had never looked back. In his first electoral contest, he got a majority of 24,829 votes over Telugu Desam Party’s Cheruku Muthyam Reddy.
Since then, Harish established his own brand in Siddipet. His majority has only been going up steeply with every subsequent election - the 2009 and 2014 assembly elections as well as two bypolls he contested after resigning from the seat as part of the protests for a separate Telangana state - while his opponents have been losing their deposits.
In 2009 elections, he got a massive majority of 64,877 votes in just the Siddipet assembly constituency, compared to just 20,000 votes’ majority secured by his uncle KCR in the entire Mahbubnagar parliamentary constituency comprising seven assembly segments.
In 2014 elections, when Telangana state became a reality, Harish got the highest victory margin of 93,928 votes over his nearest Congress rival T Srinivas Goud, securing 72.8 per cent of the votes. Compared to him, KCR who won from the neighbouring Gajwel assembly constituency, had just got a majority of just 19,000 votes.
“This time, he is going to cross over one lakh majority and set a new record. There is no need for him to campaign for himself at all,” says K Yella Reddy, a TRS leader from Ibrahimpur, the first-ever village in South India to go cashless after the Narendra Modi government’s November 8, 2016 demonetisation decision.
Such is the popularity of Harish in Siddipet that the opposition parties are not evincing interest in contesting against him this time. The Congress opted out of contest in Siddipet and allotted the seat to Telangana Jana Samithi as part of Maha Kootami (grand alliance). And with just four days to go for closure of nominations, the TJS is struggling to find a suitable candidate.
In fact, several villages in Siddipet constituency have taken a vow to vote only for Harish. “It was only after he became the MLA, our village has witnessed a lot of development like cement concrete roads, drinking water supply and streetlights. Who else can we vote for?” asked 70-year old NImma Gurava Reddy of Konaipalli village.
In Mundrai village, which was once a Congress bastion, farmers are angry with the TRS government for taking away their lands in the name of industrialisation. “Yet, we can’t ignore Harish Rao, who is accessible to us anytime and takes cares of our problems. Moreover, there is no other alternative,” said 27-year-old Yadagiri.
The massive Rs 80,000 crore Kaleshwaram lift irrigation scheme on Godavari river has fetched him tremendous mileage to hims as works on reservoirs and canals is going on in full swing in every part of Siddipet. The speedy works of Mission Kakatiya aimed at restoring the defunct tanks was also a feather in the cap for Harish. “Every village in Siddipet is looking prosperous, neat, clean and green, showing how passionately he nurtured his constituency,” says Yella Reddy.
Chintamadaka, the chief minister’s native village that falls in Harish’s constituency, has witnessed unprecedented development in the last four years. “We never expected that we will move into such spacious homes with electricity and drinking water facility. We shall not forget KCR and Harish,” said Vantipalli Papi Reddy, a farmer, in the newly built-colony of double bedrooms.
With Harish’s victory being a foregone conclusion, KCR made him campaign in-charge for Gajwel, where the Congress is giving a tough fight. “Now, Harish is sweating it out by extensively touring Gajwel to ensure a comfortable win for his uncle,” said B Praveen, a shop keeper in Gajwel.
First Published: Nov 15, 2018 21:10:08