Hyderabad | The Gajwel assembly constituency in Telangana is set to witness a high-voltage clash between BRS chief K Chandrasekhar Rao and his former colleague and BJP MLA Etala Rajender in the November 30 Assembly polls.
The Congress is fielding Thumkunta Narsa Reddy to take on KCR, who is likely to file his nomination on November 9 for two seats including the Gajwel and Kamareddy.
Rajender quit BRS (then known as TRS) in June 2021 after he fell out with the top brass and joined the BJP. Later, he contested from Huzurabad segment in the subsequent by-polls and won.
The BJP legislator had earlier said that he would contest in Gajwel against Rao and defeat him.
Gajwel, nearly 60 kms from here, has witnessed impressive growth in infrastructure and has benefited from the welfare measures implemented by the BRS regime.
Gajwel remained a panchayat till 2012, when it was upgraded to a nagara panchayat, duly merging three gram panchayats and five other hamlets.
CM Chandrasekhar Rao had won from Gajwel in 2018 and also in 2014. He had trounced Vanteru Pratap Reddy of Congress in the 2018 election by a margin of over 50,000 votes.
In 2014 too, Pratap Reddy was KCR's rival and lost by a margin of about 20,000 votes.
Post-2018, Pratap Reddy joined the BRS and is now the chairman of the state-run Telangana State Forest Development Corporation.
In an interview to PTI, Pratap Reddy, who is incharge of the BRS campaign in Gajwel, said the BJP has fielded Rajender, who belongs to the Mudiraj community, from the constituency solely depending on the caste vote.
Noting that there are about 38,000 to 40,000 voters belonging to the Mudiraj community in the constituency, he said Rajender may not be able to get them en masse.
Reddy further said there are over one lakh people who get various government schemes, such as social pensions, and the Rythu Bandhu majority of whom may vote in favour of the Chief Minister.
Speaking of BJP's Rajender, Reddy said, "He is a CM candidate for the BJP. There is no base for him in Gajwel constituency. He is hoping to get Mudiraj community votes. But polarisation of the community votes is very difficult.” He further said Congress candidate Narsa Reddy is weak in terms of popularity, as voters in Gajwel think that he is a “turncoat”.
Crediting KCR with developing the constituency, Reddy said infrastructure, including drinking water facilities, in both urban and rural areas of Gajwel has been phenomenally improved.
“There is no aversion against KCR in the public,” he asserted.
Addressing his followers at his residence, Rajender on October 25 said though he does not belong to the place, people of Gajwel know him and his dedication for the past 20 years.
"I want to defeat KCR's arrogance. But, I dont have the power to take him on in terms of money and wickedness. Only the people of Gajwel have the power to defeat him," he had said.
Congress candidate Narsa Reddy told PTI that both KCR and Rajender were not locals in Gajwel, and both will not do any good to the constituency.
Referring to KCR's promise to build 5,000 two-bedroom houses for the economically weaker sections in the constituency, he said not even five have been completed so far.
"Though the BJP and BRS are fighting separately, they are together. If they (KCR and Rajender) are sincere, they should contest in only one constituency, not two,” Narsa Reddy opined.
A local, who spoke on condition of anonymity said, "If Rajender was not contesting from Gajwel, it would have been a cakewalk for KCR. The development may force Rao to focus more on his constituency.