The Telangana Rashtra Samithi Party (TRS) emerged victorious in both the Graduates MLC elections held in Telangana. In addition to maintaining a sitting position, the ruling TRS was able to capture the position through its versatile strategy and tactics adopted by the TRS high command which paved the way for the success of the party candidates. First was the TRS surprise candidature of S Vani Devi who won the Hyderabad-Rangareddy-Mahbubnagar from incumbent BJP BJP MLC N Ramchander Rao. She won the seat by polling 1,89,339 lakh votes.
In Nalgonda-Warangal-Khammam, Palla Rajeshwar Reddy had to struggle a bit after the surprise factor Chintapandu Naveen aka Teenmaar Mallana gave him a run for his money to stand second in place. The unexpected candidate’ move by KCR in fielding PV Narasimha Rao's daughter helped to pave for the TRS success in garnering the urban votes.
TRS chief K Chandrasekhara Rao (KCR) , who declared sitting MLC Palla Rajeshwar Reddy as the candidate from the ‘Nallagonda-Khammam-Warangal’ graduate seat, maintained confidentiality till the last minute in the matter of fielding the candidate in the ‘Hyderabad-Rangareddy-Mahabubnagar’ seat. With the nominations closing on February 23, a day earlier on February 22, KCR finalized the name of Surabhi Vani Devi, daughter of the late former Prime Minister PV Narasimha Rao, as the TRS candidate for the Hyderabad seat. Opposition parties along with the TRS ranks were taken by surprise when Vani Devi's name appeared on the screen in the backdrop of the PV Centenary celebrations started by the KCR Government. TRS leaders said they would ensure her win and send her to the legislative council as a gift on the occasion of the PV's centenary .
KCR finalized the party candidate just 20 days before the polling date, and also finalized the campaign strategy and fully deployed the party machinery. TRS Party Working President KT Rama Rao (Hyderabad), Rajya Sabha Member K Keshava Rao (Ranga Reddy), MLC Seri Subhash Reddy (Mahabubnagar) were entrusted with the coordination responsibilities in their respective districts. While the responsibilities were handed over to the district ministers in place for the Nalgonda region, in addition to the joint district ministers three other ministers Gangula Kamalakar (Hyderabad), T. Harish Rao (Ranga Reddy) and Vemula Prashanth Reddy (Mahabubnagar) were appointed as in-charges.
The TRS which has been mobilising the party machinery for the past six months with preliminary meetings at Nalgonda-Khammam-Warangal, had been quite aggressive in its election campaigning in Hyderabad-Rangareddy-Mahabubnagar. As soon as the preparatory meetings at the mandal and assembly constituency levels were over, the focus was on appointing an in-charge for every 50 voters at the field level and reaching out to each voter. KCR himself was overseeing the implementation of the party strategy in both the graduate MLC seats and has been alerting ministers, in-charges, MLAs and other ministers from time to time.
The TRS had taken the MLC elections very prestigiously especially after the Dubbak elections, where it lost its stronghold to the BJP. Another aspect was the elections being held were spread across 77 assembly constituencies. They made it a priority to hold meetings with doctors, lawyers, engineers' professionals, and employees, employees of Central Public Sector Undertakings, caste-based associations, and even resident colony associations. The pattern of results also showed that the situation was favourable for the TRS and that party candidates would gain the upper hand in the first-preference votes if the polling percentage increased.
A meeting with representatives of the job and teacher unions with KCR at Pragati Bhavan, three days before the polling created a favourable atmosphere for the TRS. Despite criticism of the statements made by the leaders of the respective unions that the Chief Minister was in favour of giving 29 per cent fitment, the Opposition to the TRS in the respective sections helped to some extent. Meanwhile, the large number of candidates vying for the two graduate seats has led to a split in votes based on the anti-government sentiment which also led to its favour.
With 93 candidates contesting in Hyderabad and 71 in Nalgonda, the massive lead of more than eight candidates in both the constituencies in the preliminary preferential counting of votes, paved the way for TRS to gain the upper hand. The TRS victory was a resounding success as second-preference votes added to the lead. The BJP, on the other hand, has been the most aggressive against the TRS in its campaigning at the field level and on social media. Apart from mentioning issues like sale of public sector undertakings, increase in gas, diesel, and petrol prices, and also its bonding with employees and students added to its triumph.