Until noon, the BJP and the TRS were neck-and-neck, but by afternoon the BJP began to widen its margin with each passing round.

Eatala Rajender during a public rallyImage: Facebook
news Bye-Election Tuesday, November 02, 2021 - 19:43

After a fiercely contested battle for the Huzurabad Assembly seat in Telangana, BJP leader and former trusted ally of Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao Eatala Rajender emerged victorious in the bye-poll. Rajender won the election with a margin of 24,068 votes. Those who were following the counting were at the edge of their seats, at least until the first 10 rounds as the competition progressed neck-and-neck. By the 18th round of counting, the BJP was confident of emerging victorious because the last four rounds were votes from Kamalapur, Eatala’s home turf.

Eventually, as the margin broadened, even before the counting concluded, celebrations began at the BJP headquarters in Hyderabad. Telangana BJP Chief Bandi Sanjay is expected to join Eatala Rajender in Huzurabad to congratulate him on his victory. The result has set the trajectory ahead of the Assembly elections in the state in 2023.

Rajender, whose resignation caused the bypoll, secured a total of 1,06,780 votes at the end of the final round of counting, while the TRS candidate Gellu Srinivas Yadav had polled 82,712 votes. Venkat Balmoor of the Congress party was a distant third with just 3012 votes. Rajender, who took the lead at 166 votes in the first round, increased it to an overall lead of 24,048 votes at the final round of counting. 

The BJP had taken an early lead in Telangana's Huzurabad constituency, where the counting of votes polled in the October 30 bye-election was underway on Tuesday, November 2. Though Eatala was in the lead from round one, it was by a very small margin.

Read: Ground report: In Huzurabad, it’s a battle of egos between Eatala and KCR

Ever since Rajender quit the TRS and resigned from Assembly to join the BJP in June after he was dropped from State Cabinet by KCR over allegations of land grabbing, a close contest to win the Huzurabad constituency was expected. A neck-and-neck battle was predicted after the TRS named student wing leader G Srinivas Yadav as its candidate against the former minister and four-time MLA.

When TNM visited Huzurabad, Eatala Rajender had confidently claimed that “dharma and justice” would triumph in Huzurabad.  “Never before has there been a situation where several hundred crore rupees have been spent in a single constituency. No situation where government orders were passed to entice people by spending thousands of crores. This has been going on for nearly six months now — so many dawats, sops, expenses... But in the end dharma and justice will win, and not evil forces with money bags. Huzurabad is going to prove that to everyone,” he had said.

Out of 2,36,837 voters, 2,05,053 or 86.33% had cast their votes in the bye-election. The poll percentage was 2.5 % higher than the turnout in 2018. The counting began at 8 am on Tuesday at SRR College in Huzurabad, amid tight security arrangements. The postal ballots were counted first. TRS secured 503 postal votes against 159 by BJP and 32 by Congress. Another 14 postal votes were declared invalid.

The Election Commission has prohibited any victory procession after the counting. According to the orders issued by the CEO, not more than two persons will be allowed to accompany the winning candidate or their representative while receiving the certificate of election from the Returning Officer.

A total of 30 candidates were in the fray in the bye-election, caused by the resignation of Eatala Rajender after he was dropped from State Cabinet by Chief Minister K Chandraekhar Rao following allegations of land grabbing.

With IANS inputs