As Telangana concluded voting on Friday in a key test for incumbent chief minister K Chandrasekhar Rao, here is a quick look at the crucial faces battling for power. On Saturday, the Election Commission had announced that 73.20 per cent polling was registered in the Telangana Assembly elections.
Kalvakuntla Chandrashekar Rao (KCR)
Seeking a second term as chief minister, KCR’s promises during the time he was elected are yet to be fulfilled. Staring at a possible loss of the Dalit and Muslim vote bank in his state, KCR has still doled out many more schemes and promises.
In what was quite a political spectacle and a gamble, KCR went for early elections, six months before his term ended. Just recently, he claimed he was the only agent of the people of Telangana.
He is the leader and founder of the ruling Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS).
Uttam Kumar Reddy
Part of the Prajakutami alliance and president of the Telangana Pradesh Congress Committee (TPCC), Uttam Kumar Reddy is currently a member from the Huzurnagar constituency.
Reddy, a former pilot in the Indian Air Force, is betting on the "anti-incumbency factor" and the support of the alliance partners while his opponent Saidi Reddy (TRS), an NRI and IT professional, is counting on beneficiaries of various government schemes in the constituency.
Reddy is seeking a re-election for the fifth time. In 1999 and 2004 he contested from Kodad while in 2009 and 2014 he was elected from Huzurnagar.
Kalvakuntla Taraka Rama Rao (KTR)
The scion of the Kalvakuntla family, the 42-year-old won his first ever election in 2009. After vacating the Siricilla seat at the peak of the Telangana agitation, he went on to win it again in 2014. While his ambit seems strong, his work becomes harder this time as he battles the woes of the weaver community in his area, which is the most predominant community there.
Cases of illegal sand mining have become a blot on his otherwise stellar run in Siricilla.
Once one of the closest aides of chief minister KCR, Kondaram is now a strong competition for the latter in this election. With his own party now, the Telangana Jana Samiti, he has chosen to stay on the sidelines.
Busy ensuring that the grand alliance stays as strong as it is being portrayed, Kondaram’s upbringing in Warangal, the epicentre of the Telangana movement, has ensured that he despises feudalism and has fielded about a dozen candidates to fight the fight that TRS was supposed to fight: for the people.
Four-time MLA, his record includes an attack on his life, more than 35 days in jail for an inflammatory speech and cases for making hate speech. Despite the grey marks on his political career spanning over two decades, he has commanded a loyal following. He has been reported to be involved in a number of philanthropic activities, one of the prime reasons for his ardent following.
The chances of him losing his seat in Chandrayangutta are slim, as he is known as an accessible leader.