Nizamabad strategy again? YS Sharmila to back 200 'rebel' candidates in Huzurabad

The Election Commission announced that the bye-election in Huzurabad would be held on October 30, 2021.
File photo of YS Sharmila
File photo of YS Sharmila
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The recently-launched YSR Telangana Party (YSRTP) has called for nominations from unemployed youth and those who are unable to find employment after losing their job to contest in the upcoming Huzurabad bye-election. The YSRTP plans to support as many as 200 candidates who come forward to contest in the election. The Election Commission announced on Tuesday, September 28 that the bye-election in Huzurabad would be held on October 30, 2021.

Speaking to TNM, Bomma Bhaskar Reddy, YSRTP’s Huzurabad bye-election nominations coordinator said the strategy adopted is the same as the strategy witnessed in Varanasi and Nizamabad. “We are planning to support 200 candidates who come forward to contest. Unemployed youth and those who lost their jobs will be our primary focus. However, anyone who is angered by the present government will be welcome to come forward and nominate themselves,” Reddy said. “The TRS government isn’t releasing notifications for new jobs and hence there is unemployment. Our intention is to send a strong message and strike them hard to let them know the anger and disappointment of those unemployed. Students are today forced to take their lives because notifications are not being released by the government,” he added.

“What the party chief conveyed to them is that you take care of your concerns and I will handle the rest including financial expenses that will be incurred,” added Reddy. In 2019, in protest against the non-formation of a turmeric board, 178 farmers had filed their nominations to contest the Lok Sabha election from Telangana’s Nizamabad constituency. The motive was to target the re-election of K Kavitha, who was the sitting MP of Nizamabad and also the daughter of Chief Minister K Chandrashekhar Rao (KCR). Out of the total 185 candidates who contested the election, 178 candidates were farmers from Nizamabad.

After Nizamabad, 50 farmers from Telangana travelled to Varanasi in Uttar Pradesh, as part of a campaign called ‘Chalo Varanasi’, to file nominations to contest the election to the Lok Sabha from Varanasi. This was the same constituency from where Prime Minister Narendra Modi was seeking re-election. The farmers had decided to enter the fray to spark a debate about their long-time demand for a turmeric board in Telangana.

While the contesting farmers did not have any substantial impact on the elections in Varanasi, the efforts sparked discussion about their demand for a turmeric board. But in Telangana’s Nizamabad, the sitting MP K Kavitha was defeated. Through the result, the farmers felt they had sent across a strong message to those in power that if promises are unfulfilled, leaders in power would be made to pay for it. However, those in favour of Kavitha still maintain that she had tried several times to fulfill the promise but the Union government did not give in to the demand.

When asked if YSRTP’s move will have an impact on the elections, senior TRS leader Sridhar Reddy downplayed the strategy. “As far as the numbers are concerned, the present government has created more than 1.3 lakh jobs in the last seven years. This has been put in the public domain and explained several times. People also understand that COVID-19 has had a big impact on jobs. YSRTP fielding 200 candidates may not even be possible because wherever Sharmila is going she isn’t evoking any response from the people. They don’t think she is fighting for Telangana, in fact, she is fighting for her own existence,” he said.

However, BJP spokesperson Rakesh Reddy dismissed TRS party’s comments and said YSRTP’s move will definitely benefit the BJP in the Huzurabad bye-election. “We are the principal opposition to the TRS and this move against the TRS will definitely be advantageous to us. The BJP has time and again brought up the unemployment issue and fought for those unemployed by taking to the streets. It's the BJP which has announced a million march if vacant posts are not filled.”

When told that TRS believes that those unemployed consider that the Union government hasn’t done enough for them and that the promise of two crore jobs remains unfilled, the BJP spokesperson said, “2.5 crore provident fund accounts are added every year. And 4.5 crores people were given bank loans for the first time under Mudra Yojna. So, how can anyone say that BJP hasn’t fulfilled our promise? Telangana was formed just on the basis of injustice to the region in terms of jobs. And today when the government-sponsored Biswal committee says 1.98 lakh jobs are vacant, what response does the TRS government have?

While the BJP and the TRS battle it out in the run-up to the bye-election, the TRS feels YSRTP’s move will not have any impact on the election. “Huzurabad is a different contest altogether. Huzurabad is an agrarian economy. People are mostly farmers, they herd cattle or are toddy tappers or into family businesses, etc. In one or the other scheme, they have all benefited from the TRS government. In one or the other way, they have enjoyed the fruits of the welfare schemes. YSRTP’s tricks will not impact this election. While the BJP may try to use it to their advantage, YSRTP may not even be able to find 20 candidates to field in Huzurabad,” added TRS leader Sridhar Reddy.

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