High-profile visits and sounding of the poll bugle by top leaders has set the stage for an intense political battle ahead of the November 30 assembly elections in Telangana, where the ruling Bharat Rashtra Samithi is looking for a third straight term while the opposition Bharatiya Janata Party and the Congress are also fancying their chances.
Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao-led Bharat Rashtra Samiti has pinned hopes on the development work his government undertook during the past ten years, while opposition Congress and BJP bank on anti-incumbency and the alleged failures of the incumbent.
Telangana assembly has 119 seats.
The ruling BRS has already named 115 candidates in August, much ahead of others and taking advantage of a head-start in terms of campaigning.
The remaining BRS candidates are also expected to be announced soon.
BRS official spokesperson Putta Vishnuvardhan Reddy told PTI, "We are much ahead in the game over other parties because Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao has announced the candidates list. He has given the candidates more than 100 days time to go to the public and campaign."
According to Reddy, the Congress party which had made several promises during the Karnataka polls, is now finding it difficult to fulfill them.
"BRS will win between 95-105 seats out of the total of 119 in the upcoming assembly polls," Rao told reporters at a press conference during the release of BRS candidate list on August 21.
BRS working president and KCR's son, KT Rama Rao has been touring the state and addressing various meetings.
Senior Telangana BJP leader N Ramachandra Rao said his party is totally prepared for the polls and the visits of the central leadership to the state are also being coordinated.
"Every poll arrangement is underway. We will jump into the poll fray with all vigour," Rao said.
When asked about the first list of candidates of the BJP, he said they are waiting for the poll notification and now that it has been announced, the names will be out in a couple of days.
He said the list is ready with the alternate candidates' names also in case any change is required.
Replying to a query, he said the BRS announcing its list well in advance will be a disadvantage to the candidates as they will have to face the anti-incumbency.
A week before the poll schedule was announced, Prime Minister Narendra Modi visited Telangana twice with just a day's gap in between and launched developmental infrastructure projects worth over Rs 21,000 crore. He addressed two public rallies on October 1 and 3, enthusing the party cadre.
Union Home Minister Amit Shah is scheduled to address a rally in Adilabad on October 10 and would also meet prominent professionals and intellectuals among others, the same day.
Telangana PCC campaign committee chairman and former Lok Sabha member Madhu Yashki said his party's poll campaign was launched on the day of Congress Working Committee meeting held in Hyderabad on September 16.
The next day a rally attended by All India Congress Committee president Mallikarjun Kharge and top leaders Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi was held, marking the launch of the party's poll campaign.
"We are fully prepared for the Telangana Assembly polls. We have already announced the six guarantees. The rally we conducted on September 17 is the biggest one in the country (an indication of growing support for Congress)," Yashki said.
He said the screening committee for selecting the candidates of the Assembly polls finalised the list and it will be announced by the CWC soon.
Left parties -- the Communist Party of India-Marxist and Communist Party of India are in discussions with Congress for a possible pre-poll alliance.