In a major blow to the Congress in Telangana, senior leader and incumbent Gadwal MLA DK Aruna lost to her nephew and Telangana Rashtra Samiti (TRS) candidate Bandla Krishna Mohan Reddy by a margin of 28,260 votes. While Aruna received 72,155 votes, Bandla Krishna bagged 1,00,415 votes.
This means that the TRS leader, who lost to her in 2014, has managed to break Arunaâ€™s streak as she had held the seat since 2004.
A close contest
A firebrand leader, DK Aruna of the Congress comes from a lineage of political leaders, with her family enjoying considerable influence in the region. She has served four consecutive terms from Gadwal.
The TRS had claimed that the locals would vote for them as they were impressed with the welfare schemes of Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Raoâ€™s government while accusing the Congress of stalling development in the region.
The Jurala project was another key issue. While the Congress had claimed that it was they who envisioned the project, the TRS had been boasting about the speedy execution and completion of the project.
The BJP, which hoped to be an alternative, fielded an advocate, Venkatadri Reddy, a fresh face who joined the party on August 23. However, Venkatadri could not make a dent as he received only 1,936 votes.
Reign of the DK family
Members from the DK family have been elected to the Assembly at least nine times, starting with DK Satya Reddyâ€™s victory in 1957. Satyaâ€™s eldest son, DK Samarasimha Reddy, was also elected from the Gadwal seat and had served as a state minister.
In 1994, Samarasimha went up against his brother Bharath Simha Reddy, D K Arunaâ€™s husband, who contested as an independent. Bharath Simha won with a sweeping majority.
Aruna, who married Bharath Simha when she was 16, is the daughter of former Congress MLA Chittem Narsi Reddy and hails from a family of party loyalists herself. Chittem Narsi Reddyâ€™s family has traditionally held the Makthal seat.
In 2004, Aruna, who contested on a Samajwadi Party ticket, defeated the local TDP candidate with a huge margin and reclaim the seat that her husband once held. Since then, Aruna was the sitting MLA from Gadwal.