March 27, 2019
Hyderabad : Unlike in neighbouring Andhra Pradesh, Telangana holds no suspense as to the electoral outcome.
Even if one went by the number of Congress MLAs are jumping ship, it is very clear which way the wind is blowing. Nearly half of the 19 Congress MLAs in Telangana have already declared intentions to join the TRS plunging the grand old party into a sense of despondency over its poll prospects.
Telangana sends 17 MPs to Lok Sabha and with national pre-poll surveys predicting a tough fight and a possible hung assembly with numbers tending to favour a non-BJP government at the centre, each MP would be worth his or her weight in gold at the time of government formation.
And the situation that prevails in Telangana today, with Chief Minister and Telangana Rashtra Semithin chief K Chandrasekhar Rao strengthening his stranglehold over the state and its polity, it will not be a surprise if it gets translated into concrete Lok Sabha seats in his kitty.
KCR, as he is popularly known, has had made his national ambitions clear and was at one time trying to forge a Federal Front comprising non-BJP, non-Congress regional parties for a greater say in national politics. Though it was still born given the lukewarm response of the other parties, as they suspected KCR to be fronting for the BJP, if he has a dozen members with him, he can be a key player in the post-poll scenario.
This is what KCR will be praying for. And the Lord seemed to have granted him half his prayers – that is he is poised to win at least close to two-thirds of the 17 LS seats. And could nearly sweep if things go entirely his way. The only thing that stands between him and his national ambitions is the Congress party, which can still spring a spirited fight, after the Telugu Desam party withdrew from the contest completely and offered its support to the Congress in all the 17 seats.
Now, there is a soft corner of the people for Sonia Gandhi, former AICC president and UPA chairperson, for helping the creation of Telangana. AICC president Rahul Gandhi’s rallies are well attended and this time around Priyanka Gandhi, AICC general secretary in charge of Eastern Uttar Pradesh, is also expected to keep her date with the voters of Telangana.
But how far the Congress can match and fight KCR, who is seemingly gaining strength, as far as public perception goes, is a question that only time will tell. For the present, if there is any state where the Congress is fighting a very stiff battle, Telangana would figure among the top.
What makes KCR tick?
An orator who can whip up emotions and passions, KCR has worked up a frenzy among the masses and is someone who has delivered on his welfare schemes. To an extent that these schemes have raised the expectations of the masses that if they were with him, they stood to benefit.
A plethora of mass welfare schemes, for farmers, for women and for the poor meant he had become a messiah of sorts. Or at least that is the image he has managed to sold of himself to the masses by spending public money.
On the flip side, KCR is seen as someone who is autocratic, rude and whimsical. But for the masses, who are anyway far away from it all, it only matters as to what are their immediate gains.
When it comes to self, KCR can be totally ruthless. Seeming to play along with the Congress till it got the bifurcation passed in the parliament, KCR lost no time in ditching it and more important, drove it out of the state. Since then, the Congress is finding it hard to revive self.
In view of this emergent scenario, it is not very difficult to visualise the likely poll result – a repeat performance of TRS as in assembly polls that it swept.