The BJP's KV Rama Reddy beat Telangana Chief Minister KCR and Congress' Revanth Reddy from Kamareddy.
The BJP has been routed in the Telangana Assembly election - as of 6.30 pm it was leading, or had won, just eight of 111 seats and has had to watch the Congress ousts the BRS of outgoing Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao, or KCR, which has been in power since 2014.
Nevertheless, the BJP has managed a substantial twin shock in Kamareddy, where KV Ramana Reddy has overpowered outgoing Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao - hailed as the 'father of Telangana' - and the Congress' newly-appointed state boss Revanth Reddy, who orchestrated his party's win.
Ramana Reddy polled 66,652 votes to K Chandrasekhar Rao's 59,911 and Revanth Reddy's 54,916, making for an eventually comfortable win of 6,741 ballots over the nearest challenger.
After his win, the BJP leader said, “I took both of them as normal candidates. People have supported me a lot and this is the reason I won from here... I have become the MLA from Kamareddy. I want to say that I am not just the MLA of 65,000 voters… but I am the MLA of four lakh people..."
This is more of a prestige blow for the BRS and the Congress, since both KCR and Revanth Reddy are fighting two seats each. KCR is leading, and will likely win comfortably, from his bastion of Gajwel, while Revanth Reddy has won from Kodangal by over 32,000 votes.
READ | From Third Front Dreams To Crashlanding In Telangana, KCR's Huge Reversal
For the BJP, though, this is a significant result.
The Telangana election was the first chapter in its 'Mission South' storybook - a chance to make inroads into South India ahead of next year's general election. At present, the BJP does not have a state in the southern part of the country - which has been a traditionally a tough nut for it to crack.
The party was in power in Karnataka till it was ousted earlier this year by the Congress and Kerala remains immune to its charms; in 2021 the BJP won zero of 113 seats and in 2016 it got one from 98.
READ | "BRS Will Bounce Back": Telangana Minister KTR Concedes Defeat
Last year in Tamil Nadu, the BJP - which was then allied with the AIADMK - was voted out and, since them, the regional party has broken off ties in a state that is dominated by local politics.
As a result, with the spotlight on the Telangana election, the BJP pulled out the stops, fielding Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Union Home Minister Amit Shah, and party boss JP Nadda in its campaign.
The return has been bitterly disappointing; of the state's 119 seats, the Congress is leading in or has won 64 and the BRS 39. The BJP has just eight - only one more than Asaduddin Owaisi's AIMIM.
With that in mind, KV Rama Reddy's win and the doubling of its vote share from five years ago - less than seven per cent in 2018 to nearly 14 per cent (so far) this year - will be a boost for the BJP.
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