After weeks of campaign that saw sharp exchange of barbs, slew of promises, and allegations of corruption and historic injustice, Telangana is now set to deliver its mandate on Sunday (December 3).
Telangana went to polls last month along with Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, and Mizoram. The five assembly election results are expected to set the tone for the 2024 general elections, expected to be held in April-May 2024.
While K Chandrasekhar Rao of the Bharat Rashtra Samithi (BRS) looks forward to third straight term in Telangana, Congress appears confident of wresting the state from him. The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) also devoted considerable energies in the state but the contest remains between BRS and Congress as exit polls show the BJP barely crossing the double-digit mark.
Interestingly, KCR, as Rao is widely called, is contesting from two seats of Kamareddy and Gajwel. Here are the five seats to look out for.
Telangana Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao is contesting from the Gajwel seat, which he has held since 2014.
While KCR's rule has largely been uncontested in the state for the past decade, that's not the case anymore as Congress appears to be giving a tough fight in the state. Most exit polls show the two parties either equally tied or show Congress to have a clear edge.
The fact that KCR, as Rao is widely called, is contesting from two seats is also seen as a sign that he is not that confident about his own prospects. In an article for The Wire, Vikram Mukka noted that even though KCR has held Gajwel for two terms, he has not focussed much on the constituency.
"In the last decade as Gajwel MLA, he has hardly ever addressed a party workers’ meeting in the constituency and has never taken it upon himself to appeal to voters to support his candidature. As an unchallenged leader in Telangana, his victory in Gajwel seemed fait accompli. However, doubts are being cast in political circles this time around on his perceived invincibility in Gajwel following the chief minister’s decision to contest another constituency, Kamareddy, in the upcoming Assembly elections," noted Mukka.
In Gajwel, KCR faces Vanteru Pratap Reddy of Congress as his principal opponent, whom he has defeated previously in 2014.
Kamareddy is the second seat from where KCR is contesting the Telangana assembly elections.
KCR is contesting in place of Gampa Govardhan of BRS, who has been an MLA since 1994. He faces K Venkata Ramana Reddy of the BJP and state party chief A Revanth Reddy of the Congress party.
While BRS has had a winning streak in Kamareddy, Mukka noted in his article in The Wire that the Congress party has narrowed the margins over successive elections and has put up a strong contest this time.
Kalvakuntla Taraka Rama Rao of BRS is contesting from the Sircilla assembly seat. He is KCR's son and holds IT, industries, and municipal administration portfolios in the KCR ministry.
KTR has represented the seat in 2009, 2014, and 2018 elections and also in a byelection in 2010.
KTR faces Rani Rudrama Reddy from the BJP and Kondam Karuna Mahender Reddy of the Congress party this time in Sircilla.
The Chandrayangutta assembly constituency is key as the sitting MLA here is Akbaruddin Owaisi, brother of All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (AIMIM) chief Asaduddin Owaisi. It is part of Hyderabad district.
Akbaruddin has represented the Chandrayangutta seat since 2009. It is one of the seven legislative segments forming the Hyderabad Lok Sabha seat, which is held by Asaduddin.
The Goshamahal assembly seat in Hyderabad is key as controversial BJP leader T Raja Singh is contesting from the seat.
Singh was suspended from his own party over comments on Prophet Muhammed but the suspension was revoked in the run-up to elections and he was given the ticket from the seat. He is the sitting MLA since 2014.
The AIMIM, which Singh has frequently targeted, is not contesting the seat. Singh faces Telangana Mahila Congress chief Mogili Sunitha and Nanda Kishore Vyas of BRS. Observers have seen AIMIM's abstention from the seat as part of a plan to prevent the division of non-BJP votes.