HYDERABAD, 17 October 2004 — Majlis-e-Ittehaadul Muslimeen (MIM) wrested the Asifnagar seat while Telangana Rashtra Samithi retained the Siddipet seat in the assembly by-elections in Andhra Pradesh.
Chief Minister Y.S. Rajasekhar Reddy suffered embarrassment as he had made the Asifnagar by-election a prestige issue by campaigning for a whole day for his close follower and Congress candidate D. Nagender. Senior Telugu Desam leader C. Ramachandraiah termed the by-election outcome as a “personal defeat” for the chief minister.
MIM nominee Mohammed Moazam Khan defeated his Congress rival Nagender by a slender margin of 2,110 votes in a triangular contest in Asifnagar constituency in Hyderabad city. Telugu Desam candidate M. Arvind Kumar Goud finished third in the race.
Moazam Khan secured 25,719 votes as against 24,609 votes polled by Nagender. Arvind Goud got 16,756 votes. A total of 70,311 valid votes were polled. A dozen independents and other candidates, including Majlis Bachao Tahreek (MBT) candidate Khayam Khan, lost their security deposits.
Moazam Khan, the grandson of MIM founder Bahadur Yar Jung, is making his maiden entry into the legislative assembly. With his election, the MIM’s strength in the 294-member state assembly has risen to five.
Both MIM and TDP had harped on the “opportunism” of Congress candidate Nagender, who resigned within two months after being elected on the TDP ticket and rejoined Congress, thereby forcing the by-election. He had resigned from Congress under dramatic circumstances on the eve of the assembly elections in April. Nagender earlier represented the seat as Congress member for two terms (1994 and 1999).
TRS candidate and Minister for Youth Services T. Harish Rao was declared elected from Siddipet constituency in Medak district, trouncing his nearest Telugu Desam rival and former minister Cheruku Muthyam Reddy by a huge margin of 24,827 votes.
Harish Rao polled 64,374 votes against 39,547 votes secured by Muthyam Reddy. A total of 115,458 valid votes were polled. Seven independent candidates forfeited their deposits. The young Harish Rao is a nephew of TRS founder and Indian minister without portfolio K. Chandrasekhar Rao. The Siddipet assembly seat was vacated by Chandrasekhar Rao who preferred to retain his Karimnagar Lok Sabha seat.