Mild tension prevailed in Telangana's Gajwel town after the local police on Saturday detained Congress leader Vanteru Pratap Reddy, who is contesting against caretaker Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao in the upcoming state Assembly polls, scheduled to be held on December 7.
Earlier in the day, Vanteru staged a hunger strike in front of the office of the Returning Officer of Gajwel constituency and alleged that Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) leaders were tapping his phone and accused the ruling party of bribing voters with a free flow of liquor and cash.
Alleging a threat to his life, he also appealed to the Election Commission to step up vigil in the constituency.
As he refused to budge from his sit-in, the police reached the spot and forcibly evicted him. Visuals of the incident showed him resisting attempts by police personnel to pull him into their vehicle, even as his supporters shouted slogans in his support. His aides were also detained later.
The police said that they took Vanteru to the town police station as a preventive measure to avoid any untoward incident but released him soon. Following this, the Congress leader travelled to Hyderabad and got himself admitted at the Yashoda Hospital in Secunderabad with doctors saying that he witnessed a dip in his blood pressure.
Vanteru Pratap Reddy, a local strongman who defected to the Congress from the TDP has been campaigning ever since the Assembly was dissolved on September 6, months before he was announced as a candidate.
In 2014, despite being in the TDP, a party considered against the formation of Telangana, Vanteru got 34.48% of the vote share in Gajwel against the Chief Minister's 44.42%.
Gajwel MLA Narsa Reddy, who was with the Congress at the time, had defected to the TRS but has since rejoined the party and decided to back Vanteru.
KCR had won from Gajwel with 86,694 votes, while Vanteru Pratap Reddy secured 67,303 votes and Narsa Reddy ended up with just 34,085 votes. With Narsa Reddy now throwing his weight behind Vanteru, the Congress now believes that they may have a shot at defeating KCR.
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