Although the Election Commission has not yet released the date for the byelection, both CM KCR and Union Home Minister Amit Shah have visited and addressed significant rallies in the Munugode constituency in Telangana.

The political climate has heated up ahead of the crucial Munugode assembly by-election in Telangana, with strong hitters conducting rallies, a BJP leader’s padayatra being halted, accusations linking the chief minister’s daughter to a liquor “scam,” and a dispute involving “communal” remarks.

The resignation of Congress lawmaker Komatireddy Raj Gopal Reddy from the party and the Telangana assembly on August 2 forced the need for the poll.

In Munugode, Reddy joined the BJP last week in the presence of Amit Shah, the Union home minister. Shah asserted that this marked the beginning of K. Chandrashekar Rao, the Telangana chief minister and leader of the Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS), decline.

The Union minister also discussed removing KCR’s “corrupt” rule in Telangana and his “unfulfilled promises,” such as failing to appoint a Dalit as chief minister, at his public meeting in Munugode.

After criticising the Union government for its policies, particularly for debating Telangana’s share of Krishna river water, Shah held his highly charged gathering the following day.

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Although the Election Commission has not yet disclosed the date of the byelection, both KCR and Shah have visited the district. A by-election must be held in accordance with the Representation of the People Act within six months of the day the vacancy first occurred.

Victory in the bypoll is crucial for both the TRS and the BJP, which are caught in a neck-and-neck battle.

Ever since its win over the TRS in the 2020 Dubbaka assembly bypoll, the BJP has been upbeat about its prospect in Telangana which will go to the polls the next year.

Another assembly bypoll win in the TRS’s stronghold, Huzurabad, and a robust performance in the Greater Hyderabad municipal poll in 2021, have pushed the party to set its focus on Telangana.

The BJP held its national executive committee meeting in July in Hyderabad, making it clear that Telangana is a focal point for its ‘mission south’. Shah, personally, is overseeing the party’s quest to expand its footprint in the south, where it has hitherto managed to make substantial gains only in Karnataka.

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While Shah was lambasting KCR in Telangana, BJP MP Parvesh Verma and former MLA Manjinder Singh Sirsa in Delhi claimed that the CM’s daughter K. Kavitha was involved in the alleged Delhi liquor scam.

Claiming this was being done to defame her father, Kavitha obtained an injunction order from a Hyderabad court, which restrained the BJP leaders from making or publishing any defamatory statements against her.

Recently, BJP national president J.P. Nadda called KCR the “new Nizam” of Telangana.  At a public meeting in Warangal, Nadda recalled how the Nizam had prohibited public programmes, speeches, and the opening of schools. “Likewise, KCR’s prohibitory orders are the last ones and he will be voted out. He is the new Nizam of Telangana,” Nadda told the rally.

Nadda’s comments come in the wake of the hurdles that Telangana BJP chief Bandi Sanjay’s ‘Praja Sangrama Yatra’ faced from the state government.

Sanjay, who is currently in his third phase of his padayatra (walkathon), was taken into custody last week when he announced a protest against the arrest of BJP workers outside Kavitha’s residence in Hyderabad.

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The BJP leader then moved the Telangana High Court challenging the notice issued by the police to stop the padayatra in Jangaon district. The judge gave him permission to continue his walkathon. The Telangana government has now filed a petition challenging the single judge’s order.

On the same day Sanjay was arrested, BJP MLA Raja Singh was arrested separately for allegedly making derogatory comments against Muslims and the Prophet Muhammad that triggered a row. This came in the backdrop of comedian Munawar Faruqui’s show in Hyderabad, which Singh had unsuccessfully tried to stop.

Singh was granted bail but again detained with the police calling him an ‘habitual offender’, after he released a video declaring that he wasn’t scared of anybody.

Amidst this controversy, KCR appealed to people to “chase away religious fanatics”.  The choice is between a ‘pantala Telangana’ (state with green fields) or a ‘mantala Telangana’ (state burning with communal tensions), he said.

The TRS and the Asaduddin Owaisi-led All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (AIMIM) have been claiming that the BJP is trying to disturb the communal harmony of Hyderabad and of the state as a whole. #Khabarlive #hydnews #hyderabadlive #hyderabadi