Giving a big blow to Telangana CM K. Chandrashekhar Rao, the BJP won the Assembly bypoll for the Dubbaka constituency on Tuesday. BJP candidate M. Raghunandan Rao won over his nearest TRS rival Solipeta Sujatha by 1,470 votes. The saffron party scripted history by recording its first-ever win in the dominant bastion of the Reddys in Dubbaka.
In the last election, the TRS won the same seat by more than 60,000 votes and the by-elections were necessitated due to the death of sitting TRS MLA Solipeta Ramalinga Reddy due to Covid-19.
The TRS fielded his wife, Sujatha, to get a sympathy vote but it could not get it. BJP’s candidate Raghunandan Rao won the seat with a narrow margin. In this triangular fight, the Congress stood a far third.
While the first round went in favour of the BJP, the TRS narrowed the gap by gaining momentum in the last rounds from 13th to 17th. Till the final results were announced, anxiety gripped both the TRS and the BJP camps as the voting could have tilted in any which way. At one point, the votes polled via postal ballot showed the TRS ahead of the BJP. However, the BJP took the lead in the last four rounds.
The BJP’s campaign onslaught was led by state president Bandi Sanjay, MP Aravind and Minister of State for Home Kishan Reddy, while TRS has deployed its master strategist and finance minister T. Harish Rao.
Chief Minister KCR exuded confidence that the TRS would win the Dubbaka seat with a massive majority of more than one lakh votes.
The intense rivalry saw a pitched battle between the TRS and the BJP workers. Days before polling, the police raided the residences of Raghunandan Rao’s relatives and seized Rs 18.67 lakh in cash.
The BJP cried foul and alleged that the TRS government used the police machinery to plant the cash in Raghunandan’s relative’s residence. Following this, high tension prevailed after Telangana BJP president Bandi Sanjay Kumar was arrested. Immediately, Kishan Reddy left for Siddipet and camped in Dubbaka for the poll campaign. Kishan Reddy extensively toured Dubbaka to canvas for Raghunandan Rao, clearly showing that the party took the bypoll quite seriously.
The TRS tried to nail the BJP over the three farm bills introduced by the Central government, but the BJP leaders highlighted the lack of any visible development in the constituency.
With the win in Dubbaka, the BJP seems to be slowly emerging as the main Opposition in Telangana.