Telangana: Can NTR's granddaughter conquer Kukatpally?
Entry of TDP founder N T Rama Rao's granddaughter Suhasini has added a new dimension to the political arithmetic in Kukatpally seat of Hyderabad, making it a battle of sorts between the Chandrababu Naidu-led party and K Chandrashekar Rao's TRS.
Parties opposed to the TDP in Andhra Pradesh have extended their support to the TRS in this seat, making it a prestige battle between the two, locals suggested.
Suhasini is locked in a keen contest against the ruling TRS nominee M Krishnarao, who won from there on a TDP ticket in the 2014 elections, but later switched sides.
Naidu has also held a road-show in her support two days back.
"N T Rama Rao used to say society is a temple and people are gods. Nandamuri Harikrishna (her father) followed the same path. I will serve people following the path shown by them," Suhasini said, addressing the road-show attended by Naidu.
Dismissing comments that she would not be accessible to voters, she asserted that she would make all efforts to address problems in the constituency. "There are many problems in Kukatpalle like roads, transport, traffic and street lights. I will strive to address them."
She added that she was born and brought up in Hyderabad and is a 'daughter of Telangana'.
TDP workers said Kukatpally is a sound choice for Suhasini considering that the seat has a substantial number of voters who hail from Andhra Pradesh. The party hopes that this vote will help them secure the seat given the image of legendary NTR.
A party leader said NTR family's ties with their native Krishna district are also expected to go in favour of Suhasini.
Krishna Rao, on the other side, is banking on the "popularity" of the TRS government. State minister and the Telangana chief minister's son K T Rama Rao has canvassed the length and breadth of Kukatpally for him.
Seeking to corner the TDP chief, K T Rama Rao claimed that Suhasini could have been made a minister in Andhra Pradesh just like Naidu's son Lokesh but is being made a 'scapegoat'.
"He (Naidu) tried to destabilise our (Telangana) government. He tried to stall our irrigation projects," Rama Rao said.
K T Rama Rao also tried to reach out to the Andhra native voters, saying that the TRS government do not discriminate among people.
The TDP pulled off a surprise by announcing Suhasini as candidate even as other names were doing rounds for Kukatpally.
Analysts said that her candidature is also likely to have a ripple effect among Andhra natives in other seats of Hyderabad in favour of TDP.
Suhasini is the daughter of NTR's son Harikrishna, who
recently died in a car accident. Her brothers 'junior' NTR and Kalyanram are popular Telugu actors.
Suhasini, a law graduate, said she chose to contest drawing inspiration from her grandfather, father and uncle Chandrababu Naidu.
Though the BJP has also fielded a candidate from the seat, the contest is being seen as a fight between the TDP and the TRS.
Telangana will go to polls on December 7 and the results will be declared on December 11.
(With inputs from agencies.)