Hyderabad, April 26: The election campaign in Telangana reached a crescendo Saturday with the national leaders of the Congress and the Bharatiya Janata Party criss-crossing the region while leaders of regional parties addressing meetings at various places.
On his first campaigning tour to Telangana, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh Saturday addressed a rally at Bhongir in Nalgonda district while BJP's senior leader Sushma Swaraj campaigned in Warangal district. She was also scheduled to visit Nalgonda, Medak and Hyderabad later.
With just two days to go for the campaigning to end, Congress leaders Ghulam Nabi Azad, Digvijaya Singh and Jairam Ramesh are busy campaigning for the party candidates.
On his 1st campaigning tour to T'gana, PM addressed a rally in Nalgonda today
While Azad held a road show in Medak district, Digvijaya Singh, who is incharge of party affairs in Telangana addressed a meeting in Adilabad district along with party's Telangana unit chief Ponnala Lakshmaiah and former deputy chief minister Damodar Rajanarasimha. Ramesh, who is campaigning in the region for last few days, covered four constituencies Saturday.
Popular Telugu actor Pawan Kalyan addressed election meetings in support of BJP-Telugu Desam Party combine in Karimnagar and Warangal districts.
Elections to 119 assembly and 17 Lok Sabha seats in Telangana are scheduled to be held on April 30.
The region, which is set to become India's 29th state on June 2, is witnessing triangular fight between the Congress, the Telangana Rashtra Samithi and the BJP-TDP alliance. Though YSR Congress has also fielded candidates in all constituencies, it does not appear to have much presence in the region due to its stand opposing the bifurcation of Andhra Pradesh.
Congress president Sonia Gandhi addressed a meeting at Karimnagar this week while her son and party vice president Rahul Gandhi addressed election meetings in Mahabubnagar, Nizamabad, Warangal and Hyderabad during his two visits so far. Sonia Gandhi will speak at a rally in Medak district Sunday.
The campaigning in Telangana is all about the credit for separate statehood. The Congress, the TRS and BJP-TDP alliance are all claiming credit for fulfilling the 60-year-old dream of Telangana people and assuring people that they alone can lead the new state on the path of development and prosperity.
The leaders of the main parties are engaged in a bitter war of words.
At every meeting, Rahul Gandhi is charging KCR of "backstabbing" the Congress by going back on his word to merge the TRS with the Congress after formation of Telangana state. He is also attacking TRS chief for forgetting his own promise made to people to make a Dalit as the first chief minister of Telangana.
"He is only interested in becoming the chief minister," Rahul Gandhi said at a rally in Warangal Friday.
TRSchief K. Chandrasekhara Rao, who is heading the poll campaign, is on a whirlwind tour to various parts of the region. KCR, as Rao is popularly known, launching the counter attack on Congress by questioning its role in formation of Telangana state.
He claims that the Telangana movement led by the TRS forced the Congress to deliver the separate state. "Did I give anything in writing that I will merge TRS with the Congress," he asked.
BJP's prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi visited Telangana by addressing four meetings including one in Hyderabad, where he shared dais with TDP chief N. Chandrababu Naidu and film actor Pawan Kalyan, who is backing Modi. The Gujarat chief minister promised to develop Telangana.
The BJP-TDP alliance received a shot in arm with Pawan plunging into the campaigning Friday. Chandrababu Naidu, who hails from Seemandhra, is also campaigning in Telangana. The former Andhra Pradesh chief minister says Telangana was developed only during the TDP rule and the party alone can take the new state on the path of progress.
The TDP, which has given nearly half of the assembly and Lok Sabha seats in Telangana to the BJP, is fighting for its survival in the region with its rivals, especially the TRS, calling upon people to reject parties headed by Seemandhra leaders.
The Communist Party of India (CPI) has an alliance with the Congress while the Communist Party of India-Marxist is going alone. The two left parties have pockets of support in Nalgonda and Khammam districts.
In the Hyderabad Lok Sabha constituency, Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (MIM) is way ahead of its rivals in the campaigning.