The entry of actor-politician K Pawan Kalyan’s Jana Sena Party (JSP) in the Telangana electoral fray will lead to triangular contests in at least five of the eight seats the party, which is in alliance with the BJP, is contesting.
Four of these constituencies are Khammam, Kothagudem, and the ST-reserved seats of Wyra and Aswaraopet. All of them are in the undivided Khammam district. The most interesting contest, however, is developing in Kukatpally in Hyderabad that is dominated by people of Andhra Pradesh origin. The JSP has nominated Mummareddy Prem Kumar, a builder by profession who hails from the Kapu community and recently joined the party. He is banking on the Kapu and Chaudhary communities — the two dominant social groups among people of Andhra origin in the constituency — to back him due to the pro-N Chandrababu Naidu and Pawan Kalyan sentiment.
The Bharat Rashtra Samiti (BRS) has retained M Krishna Rao, a former Telugu Desam Party (TDP) leader who won on a TDP ticket in 2014 despite a strong wave for the Telangana Rashtra Samithi (as the BRS was then known) in the aftermath of the creation of the state. He shifted allegiance to the BRS ahead of the 2018 elections and comfortably defeated TDP’s Nandamuri Suhasini, the granddaughter of TDP founder N T Rama Rao as the pro-TDP vote split. However, anti-incumbency and sympathy for Naidu may swing votes towards the JSP this time. The Congress has fielded Bandi Ramesh, a real tor.
“We have fielded candidates in segments where there is a large population of Andhra people. We have given six of eight tickets to JSP leaders who have been with us for a long time,” said Pawan Kalyan’s political secretary P Hari Prasad.
JSP’s Khammam in-charge Miryala Ramakrishna will take on Transport Minister Puvvada Ajay Kumar from the constituency while Dr Tejawat Sampath Naik is in the fray from Wyra. Political novices L Surender Rao and M Uma Devi will contest from Kothagudem and Aswaraopet respectively. Among the other JSP nominees are M Satish Reddy who will be up against BRS MLA B Malliah Yadav and Congress’ former MLA N Padmavathi Reddy — the wife of former state Congress chief N Uttam Kumar Reddy — in Kodad and Vanga Laxman Goud who has been fielded from Nagarkurnool.