Hyderabad, Nov 6 (IANS) The Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) wrested Munugode Assembly seat from the Congress, winning the bitterly contested by-election against the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in what proved to be a direct fight.
TRS candidate K. Prabhakar Reddy defeated his rival K. Rajagopal Reddy of BJP by a margin of 10,059 votes.
The Congress, which had won the seat in 2018, finished a distant third and forfeited the deposit.
Prabhakar Reddy polled 96,574 votes while Rajagopal Reddy secured 86,515 votes. Palvai Sravanthi of the Congress got only 22,449 votes.
Celebrations broke out in the TRS camp after the party won. TRS leaders and cadres celebrated the party’s victory in Munugode in Nalgonda district, Hyderabad and other parts of Telangana.
At Telangana Bhavan, the party headquarters in Hyderabad, party cadres burst fire crackers and distributed sweets.
The TRS victory dealt a blow to the BJP, which forced the by-election by luring Rajagopal Reddy to its camp. He quit the Assembly seat and the Congress in August and joined the saffron party at a public meeting addressed by Union Home Minister Amit Shah in Munugode.
The win is expected to boost the morale of the TRS ahead of the next year’s Assembly elections.
In 2018, Rajagopal Reddy had won Munugode seat on Congress ticket, defeating his nearest rival Prabhakar Reddy of the TRS by 23,552 votes.
Rajagopal Reddy had polled 99,239 votes while Prabhakar Reddy secured 61,687 votes. G. Manohar Reddy of BJP was a poor third with 12,725 votes.
A voter turnout of 93.13 per cent was recorded in the bitterly-contested bypoll on Thursday. Out of a total 2,41,805 voters, 2,25,192 voters cast their votes.
Though there were a total of 47 candidates in the fray, the main contest was among three major players – the TRS, the BJP, and the Congress.
The TRS candidate took a lead in the first round by over 1,000 votes but in the second and third rounds, the BJP took the lead to make the contest a tight one. However, the TRS maintained the lead from the fourth round and maintained the lead till 15th and final round.
After the 10th round when it became clear that the TRS was heading for a win, Rajagopal Reddy conceded defeat.
He, however, claimed that it was a moral victory for him and called the TRS win “unethical”.
He alleged that the TRS misused official machinery to win and used the police force to intimidate voters.
Earlier, the BJP leaders lodged a protest with Chief Electoral Officer Vikas Raj over delay in announcing results after every round.
State BJP President Bandi Sanjay alleged that CEO’s conduct is raising suspicions. He said that round-wise results are being announced only if the TRS is in the lead.
Union Tourism and Culture Minister G. Kishan Reddy spoke to the CEO over phone and expressed his unhappiness over the delay in announcing round-wise results.
The CEO, however, dismissed the criticism and clarified that counting was underway in a transparent manner. He attributed the delay in announcing round-wise results to the presence of a large number of candidates.