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Pick-Perfect Move: How TRS Won Munugode Bypoll, But BJP Got the Vote of Confidence

By: Kakoli Mukherjee

Edited By: Manjiri Joshi

News18.com

Last Updated: November 07, 2022, 17:54 IST

New Delhi, India

Political analysts are ascribing the BJP's vote share in Munugode to its powerful candidate, K Raj Gopal Reddy. (Twitter)

Political analysts are ascribing the BJP's vote share in Munugode to its powerful candidate, K Raj Gopal Reddy. (Twitter)

While the TRS's vote share was 42.95%, the BJP had 38.38%, and the Congress 10.58%. Given that the BJP is said to have negligible presence on the ground in Munugode, their high vote share has been an eye-opener for other parties

The high-voltage Munugode bypoll came to an end with the Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) winning by a margin of 10,309 votes. While the pink party burst into celebrations all over the state, the jubilation is bitter-sweet for them as their nearest rival, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), was too close for comfort during many rounds of counting.

While the TRS’s vote share was 42.95%, the BJP had 38.38%, and Congress 10.58%. Given that BJP is said to have negligible presence on the ground in Munugode, their high vote share has been an eye-opener for other parties.

Political analysts are ascribing the BJP’s vote share to its powerful candidate, K Raj Gopal Reddy. While it is true that the BJP has a long way to go to usher a saffron wave in southern Telangana, they have managed to win previous bypolls on the prowess of the candidate alone.

Although RGR could not repeat the feat in Munugode, the high vote share shows that he was successful in pulling votes towards BJP.

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CANDIDATE POWER

Political analyst Kambalapally Krishna, who runs a consultancy called Voice of Telangana and Andhra, told News18: “The main reason for BJP’s large vote share is their candidate. Raj Gopal Reddy helped many families during Covid pandemic in his personal capacity. He reached out to people who were let down by the ruling government in that crisis. His touch with the common people translated into votes even after he swapped parties."

“One of the reasons for Congress losing deposit in the bypoll is RGR’s exit. While the Grand Old Party received some 90,000 votes in the last elections, it was just over 20,000 this time. Where did the 70,000 votes go? They went with RGR," added the analyst.

In fact, this has been the trend for BJP in the previous bypolls too.

“The BJP has been winning on the prowess of its candidates for quite some time now," says political commentator Palwai Raghavendra Reddy.

RAZOR-THIN MARGIN, COMMUNIST SUPPORT

“In the 2018 elections, BJP’s share dropped from five seats to only one seat in Telangana. This sole seat was retained by Goshamahal MLA Raja Singh, who is popular among the North Indian voters of his constituency. In the Dubbaka bypoll, BJP’s candidate Raghunandan Rao had been contesting that seat for a few years and had a connect with the people. Against him, the TRS had fielded Solipeta Sujatha, who was the wife of the late TRS MLA Solipeta Ramalinga Reddy. She was not a strong candidate, which made things easier for the BJP. In the Huzurabad bypoll too, Eatela Rajender, who joined BJP after being sacked from the TRS cabinet, had a large following. Here too, a strong candidate translated into victory for the BJP,” says Palwai Raghavendra Reddy.

“BJP’s loss must make the party introspect. While it did win a couple of byelections earlier by scoring a strong candidate with grassroots presence, it is not going to work every time, especially in a place like Munugode which used to be a bastion of communists and the Congress. Merely fielding a strong candidate is not the best way forward for the BJP," added the commentator.

It is to be noted that K Raj Gopal Reddy is one of the richest candidates in the state. In his election affidavit in 2018, RGR had declared assets worth Rs 314 crore. During the campaigning, some voters had said on camera that they were being paid by political parties to vote in their favour.

The communist parties (CPI and CPM) have emerged as a deciding factor for victory in the bypoll.

“The TRS won because the communist parties extended their support to them. It is time for the TRS to rethink its strategies. Though it is managing to win due to its welfare schemes, the margin is razor thin. The result would have been different if the left parties had joined hands with the Congress," added Kambalapally Krishna.

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first published:November 07, 2022, 17:48 IST
last updated:November 07, 2022, 17:54 IST
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