Telangana election 2023: Changing dynamics hints at tough BRS-Congress battle

TTDP and YSRTP to stay away, TJS to back Congress; BRS woos rival party leaders

November 03, 2023 07:19 pm | Updated November 04, 2023 12:54 pm IST - HYDERABAD

BRS chief and CM K. Chandrashekhar Rao inducts former State TDP chief Kasani Gnaneshwar into the party in Hyderabad on November 3, 2023.

BRS chief and CM K. Chandrashekhar Rao inducts former State TDP chief Kasani Gnaneshwar into the party in Hyderabad on November 3, 2023. | Photo Credit: ANI

A series of crucial developments in the last one week in Telangana appears to indicate changing political equations as the State heads for the Assembly elections on November 30.

It all started with Telangana TDP president Kasani Gnaneshwar announcing the party’s decision not to contest the elections after his meeting with TDP national president N. Chandrababu Naidu, who was then in Rajahmundry jail in connection with the Skill Development scam. Mr. Gnaneshwar then quit the party only to join the BRS, leaving the TDP ‘rudderless’ ahead of the polls.

YSR Telangana Party chief Y.S. Sharmila too, followed suit and announced her party’s decision not to contest the elections. Her decision is a big ‘climbdown’ as she held a number of talks with AICC leaders to demand her pound of flesh. She then agreed to merge the party but even that did not materialise. After failing to secure any specific assurance, she threatened to field candidates in all the 119 constituencies and finally took a U-turn to completely stay away from polls.

Congress strategy

The Congress, hoping to fare better this election, is strategically roping in parties that could split the Opposition votes. Its leaders led by TPCC president A. Revanth Reddy met Telangana Jana Samiti (TJS) president M. Kodandaram and succeeded in getting the party’s support to the Congress. In 2018 elections, TJS was a poll partner of the Congress.

TDP equation

While the YSRTP and TJS have extended their support to the Congress, the TDP cadre and several voters from neighbouring Andhra Pradesh, upset with the BRS leadership for not condemning Mr. Naidu’s arrest recently, can turn towards the Congress. People of AP origin can influence the results in at least 20 constituencies in the twin cities and old districts like Khammam and Nizamabad.

Who will gain from TDP’s absence in Telangana elections? | Analysis

On the flip side, Congress now, has a challenging task to neutralise the Left parties, which have decided to field their candidates. Earlier, there was a speculation that the party would leave two seats each to the CPI (M) and CPI. But, that did not materialise and the Left parties chose to enter the fray solo. The party has some influence in old Khammam and Nalgonda districts.

The BRS too, sensing the mood that Congress is trying to avoid a split in the anti-incumbency votes, has systematically identified leaders from other parties, who are unhappy, disappointed and sulking. Every leader of some stature in the Congress and BJP has been openly embraced into the ruling party not only by Chief Minister K. Chandrasekhar Rao, but also Ministers K.T. Rama Rao and T. Harish Rao.

A case in point is the defection of former Minister Nagam Janardhan Reddy, former MLA P. Vishnuvardhan Reddy, son of the late CLP leader P. Janardhan Reddy, TTDP president Kasani Gnaneshwar and a few others.

Several aspirants from the Congress and BJP, who failed to get tickets, are also being wooed vigorously. The BRS hopes to encourage these leaders to fight elections as ‘rebels’ to eat into votes of their parent parties.

Lost game for BJP?

The BJP, it appears, has almost given up its fight this time, if the uproar after the list of candidates was announced so far is any indication. Rather than giving a strong fight, the party is fighting to prevent further desertions and pacify the disgruntled leaders.

In the next few weeks, one may witness further churning in parties.

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