Unprecedented high voter turnout in Telangana on Wednesday has unnerved the ruling Congress while the Telangana Rashtra Samiti sees the development as a strong wave in its favour.

Anti-incumbency

Leaders from different parties pointed out that the large turnout was a clear indication of the anti-incumbency factor working against the Congress. Congress leaders too fear that the high poll percentages that it might go against their party. TPCC sources admit that from a stage where it could have earned rich poll dividends for its role in the creation of Telangana State, the Congress had conceded ground to other parties, particularly the TRS.

“People were waiting for an opportunity to vent their anger against the Congress rule,” a Congress leader said, pointing out that had the TDP not erred in opposing bifurcation, it would have translated this negative vote into its favour.

As there was no other alternative, the TRS, and the BJP to some extent, are likely to benefit from the strong Telangana sentiment. Leaders note that the TRS could do well in rural areas while the BJP, which also tried to take credit for the separate statehood movement, coupled with a ‘Modi wave’, could make decent gains in some constituencies.

What went wrong?

Analysing the trends, senior Congress leaders feel that at least three factors had turned counter-productive. Firstly, the party was unable to effectively counter the strong wave of criticism mounted by TRS chief K. Chandrasekhar Rao. Secondly, the lack of charismatic leadership and frequent infighting among the Congress big wigs was also cited as a reason. Finally, Congress leaders concede that internal sabotage could also cause trouble to the official candidates in as many as dozen constituencies.

TPCC chief Ponnala Lakshmaiah claimed at a press conference that his party would form the government.

“People have turned out in large numbers to pay their gratitude to AICC president Sonia Gandhi,” he argued, ridiculing TRS claims that the Congress was facing defeat.

Meanwhile, the TRS is confident of impressive gains in Karimnagar, Warangal, Medak, Adilabad and Mahabubnagar districts. During an interaction with the party leadership, the TRS chief exuded confidence that his party would easily form the first government in Telangana State. He attributed the large turnout of youth, women and employees as strong indication of doing well in the polls.

TDP-BJP optimistic

On the other hand, the TDP-BJP combine is banking on good poll percentage in urban areas too. In the twin cities, and neighbouring Ranga Reddy district, which have 29 Assembly constituencies, leaders of both parties said they would do well barring some segments where the MIM has influence. The Muslim voter turnout is also seen as a factor that could influence the outcome.