In a huge setback to the BJP in Telangana, the party’s heavyweight Eatala Rajender has lost in both Huzurabad and Gajwel constituencies — the dual seats he contested from. Eatala, who has represented the Huzurabad constituency from 2009 even before the formation of Telangana, was defeated by BRS’ Padi Kaushik Reddy this time by a margin of 16,873 votes. Kaushik won a total of 80,333 votes, while Eatala won 63,460. Congress’ Voditala Pranav came in third with 53,164 votes.
In Gajwel, where Eatala had directly challenged Chief Minister K Chandrashekar Rao, the BJP leader lost by a margin of 45,031 votes. A former Health Minister and a key figure in the Telangana statehood movement, Eatala was a close confidante of CM KCR before he was unceremoniously sacked from TRS (now BRS) and removed as minister in 2021.
As his defeat in the elections became clear, Eatala took to social media on Sunday to congratulate the winners and thank the people of Huzurabad for letting him serve them all these years. Stating that his debt to them cannot be repaid, he also requested his supporters and followers not to be offended by the results and respect the people’s judgement. “I wish the new Assembly would lend an ear to the problems of the people,” he added.
Political analysts say that a sympathy factor might have worked out in Kaushik’s favour in the constituency, as he had lost the 2018 elections while contesting with a Congress ticket. In a desperate bid to emotionally appeal to the voters of Huzurabad, he even made a public threat to end his life if he lost the election. He also faced allegations that he was using his wife and minor daughter to ‘beg’ for votes.
Ahead of the state Assembly elections, there was a crisis in the BJP when Eatala wanted to take over the leadership of the party from Bandi Sanjay. However, the party replaced Bandi Sanjay with former BJP president and Union Minister G Kishan Reddy.