Telangana@10 | Will Formation Day glee extend till high-stakes December polls?

The going is likely to get tough for all major political parties in the coming Assembly elections as well as the 2024 Lok Sabha polls

Updated - June 02, 2023 02:30 pm IST

Published - June 02, 2023 02:09 am IST - HYDERABAD

The BRS is ahead of the Congress and the BJP in gearing up for the elections with K. Chandrasekhar Rao completing the task of identifying potential candidates. File picture

The BRS is ahead of the Congress and the BJP in gearing up for the elections with K. Chandrasekhar Rao completing the task of identifying potential candidates. File picture | Photo Credit: G. Ramakrishna

Telangana, the 29th State in the country, is gearing up for 21 days of celebration in honour of the 10th year of its formation starting June 2. But will the celebrations last long? The State faces Assembly elections six months down the line, whose outcome will decide whether the ruling Bharat Rashtra Samiti (BRS) scores a hat-trick, etching its name into the record books, or faces a different fate altogether.

The elections will also decide whether the wheels of fortune turn in favour of the Congress, like it did in the Karnataka Assembly elections helping it return to power, or if the Bharatiya Janata Party achieves the rare distinction of riding to power on its own for the first time in Telangana.

It is not going to be an easy task for all principal players in the coming Assembly elections and also in the 2024 Lok Sabha polls to prove their mettle. The challenge is immense for the K.Chandrasekhar Rao-led BRS, which has set itself an ambitious goal of becoming a pan-India political party.

The electoral track record shows the BRS, formerly TRS, comfortably winning two Assembly elections in a row. While the first elections after formation of Telangana saw the ‘pink party’ managing to win just about 63 seats, it consolidated its position with defections from rival parties. The 2018 elections held ahead of schedule propelled it as a force to reckon with. With 88 seats in its kitty, MLAs from other parties began to defect, taking the score to over 100..

The year-end polls are going to be a game changer in a sense that a third consecutive term for the BRS will make it a more formidable force and dash the dreams of the Congress to wrest power in a State which it had created. The BJP, too, wants to demand its pound of flesh on the premise that it was the first political party to raise the slogan of a separate State, recalling its 1998 Kakinada resolution pitching for bifurcation of Andhra Pradesh.

As of now, the BRS appears to be holding the fort, notwithstanding the simmering discontent and disappointment among students and unemployed youth on the job front, resentment among farmers over the delay in procurement of foodgrains and heartburn among government employees over the delay in implementing Pay Revision Commission recommendations.

Advantage BRS

From a stage when it was claimed that Maoists will have the upper hand and that there will be flight of investments and industries from Telangana to other States if a separate State was created, the BRS government has done some remarkable work that is bound to hold it in good stead.

The BRS is ahead of the Congress and the BJP in gearing up for the elections. BRS chief Chandrasekhar Rao has completed the task of identifying potential candidates while retaining a majority of the sitting legislators barring some whose track record is poor in terms of achievement.

Exuding confidence that the BRS will win a third term, Mr.Rao dropped enough hints that the performance of MLAs will be a major factor in giving ticket.

For the Congress, the Karnataka elections have come as a morale booster and now it is setting its house in order. Internal dissent, groupism, lack of unity among the top leaders and impatience of some leaders over the manner in which TPCC president A.Revanth Reddy functions is a concerning factor for the party. Unless the Congress overcomes these irritants and puts up a united face, it is next to impossible to make electoral gains..

Meanwhile, the debacle in Karnataka has put a brakes of sorts on the aggressive agenda of the BJP in Telangana. The leadership is now in two minds on the strategy it should adopt to stay visible among the electorate. The Hindutva agenda it has been pursuing in other States has not really made its impact here..

Leaders are vying with one another to project themselves as potential CM candidates even as its track record in the Assembly elections in 2014 and 2018 has nothing to write home about. Unless the BJP leadership focuses on stemming this potential spoiler and identifying the right candidates, it will be a Herculean task to take on the BRS.

Another major player is obviously the AIMIM, which sits pretty in its stronghold of Hyderabad Old City. It hopes to retain its sway in the seven constituencies it represents in the Assembly. This brings into focus the fringe players like the Bahujan Samaj Party, the Telugu Desam Party, YSR Telangana Party and the Left parties, which are also keen on leaving their footprints on Telangana’s electoral map.

The next couple of months are going to be quite interesting as the major political parties bring out all the tricks in their book to win over voters.

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