Telangana: Same contestants but with different political identities in Chevella

Hyderabad Desk

Hyderabad: The winner and runner-up of the 2019 elections in the Chevella Lok Sabha constituency will be taking on each other this time on the tickets of different parties.

Sitting MP G. Ranjith Reddy will be entering the fray as a Congress candidate because the Bharat Rashtra Sami (BRS) has denied him renomination.

A couple of days after switching loyalties to the Congress party, Ranjith Reddy managed to get the ticket from the state’s ruling party.

He will be taking on Konda Vishweshwar Reddy of the BJP while Kasani Gnaneshwar Mudiraj of BRS will be the third key contestant in the constituency comprising Assembly segments on the fringes of Hyderabad.

Vishweshwar Reddy, who was elected from Chevella in 2014 on a TRS (now BRS) ticket, contested unsuccessfully as Congress candidate in the previous election. This time he is testing his political fortunes on BJP ticket.

Created in 2009 as a result of the delimitation of constituencies, Chevella has so far witnessed three elections. Senior Congress leader S. Jaipal Reddy was elected from here in 2009.

The BRS, which is looking for a hat-trick, has fielded Kasani Gnaneshwar Mudiraj, who resigned as Telugu Desam Party (TDP) state chief and joined BRS last year after TDP decided not to contest the elections in Telangana.

BRS to face a daunting task

Political analysts say BRS will face a daunting task in retaining the seat as it has considerably weakened after losing power to Congress in the November 2023 polls.

Defections by some key leaders have dealt a blow to the KCR-led party. Former minister and MLC Patnam Mahender Reddy, his wife Sunitha Reddy, who is also the chairperson of Vikarabad Zilla Parishad, former MLA from Maheswaram Teegala Krishna Reddy and his daughter Teegala Anitha Reddy, chairperson of Rangareddy Zilla Parishad, are among the BRS leaders, who have switched loyalties to Congress.

Chevella Lok Sabha constituency comprises seven Assembly segments — Maheswaram, Rajendranagar, Serilingampally, Chevella, Pargi, Vikarabad and Tandur.

In the recent Assembly elections, BRS made a clean sweep of the four Assembly segments that fall in the Rangareddy district while Congress captured three segments.

Maheswaram segment is represented by former minister Sabitha Indra Reddy, who had switched loyalties from Congress to BRS after her election in 2018.

Vikarabad segment is represented by Assembly Speaker Gaddam Prasad Kumar.

Results of previous elections in Chevella show BJP did not have much presence in the constituency. However, in recent Assembly elections, it did well in some Assembly segments like Maheshwaram and Rajendranagar, where it stood second.

In 2019, Ranjith Reddy won the seat by a margin of 14,317 votes against his nearest rival Visheweshwar Reddy. While Ranjith Reddy was polled 5,28,148 votes, Vishweshwar Reddy secured 5,13,831 votes. BJP’s B. Janardhan Reddy had secured 2,01,960.

In 2014, TDP had contested Chevella in alliance with the BJP. The party had finished a close third. In 2009 polls, the BJP had secured 1.12 lakh votes.

Former minister Sabitha Indra Reddy, who represents the Maheshwaram constituency, has vowed to present the victory in Chevella as a gift to BRS President and former chief minister K. Chandrasekhar Rao.

The family of Sabitha Indra Reddy, which has a considerable following in Chevella, is working actively for the BRS candidate.

Sabitha’s son P. Kartik Reddy tipped to be fielded as BRS candidate. However, the leadership decided to give tickets to Gnaneshwar. Kartik Reddy had unsuccessfully contested in 2014 as a Congress candidate.

T. Prakash Goud, the BRS MLA from Rajendranagar, does not agree that BRS has weakened. “Both Ranjith Reddy and Vishweshwar Reddy have betrayed BRS but the cadres remain loyal and active,” he said while exuding confidence in the BRS victory.

Kasani Gnaneshwar

Kasani Gnaneshwar was heading TDP’s Telangana unit before he joined BRS. After TDP decided not to contest the Telangana Assembly polls, he resigned from the party. He served as a member of the Legislative Council in erstwhile united Andhra Pradesh from 2007 to 2011.

Belonging to the Mudiraj community, Gnaneshwar’s nomination as BRS candidate has been welcomed by the party leaders in the constituency. They say their leader KCR kept his word given to Gnaneshwar when he joined BRS.

Konda Vishweshwar Reddy

While this is the first election in Chevella for Gnaneshwar, Vishweshwar Reddy is contesting for the third time. In 2014, he was elected on the TRS (now BRS) ticket. He quit BRS and joined Congress a few months before 2019 elections, citing alleged neglect of leaders who fought for Telangana in BRS.

An engineer and entrepreneur, Vishweshwar Reddy is a grandson of Konda Venkata Ranga Reddy, former deputy chief minister in undivided Andhra Pradesh, and son of Justice Konda Madhava Reddy, former chief justice of Andhra Pradesh and Maharashtra. He is the son-in-law of Pratap C Reddy, the founder and chairman of Apollo Hospitals. Vishweshwar Reddy’s wife Sangita Reddy is the joint managing director of Apollo Hospitals.

Sangita Reddy has already started campaigning for her husband in the constituency. She is meeting people in the constituency seeking support for Vishweshwar Reddy.

In 2019, Vishweshwar Reddy was the second richest candidate in Lok Sabha elections in the country. He had then declared family assets of Rs 895 crore assets.

He is confident that people will vote for BJP as it is the best and most reliable option. “Prime Minister Narendra Modi Ji’s visionary leadership has the support of people across the country. People irrespective of caste and community are backing BJP. As Chevalla stands at the cusp of transformative growth, a vote for BJP is a vote for a brighter future,” he said.

Ranjit Reddy, a successful entrepreneur, had made his electoral debut on a winning note in 2019.

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