With the Congress party collecting Karnataka in its kitty, it is confident of a similar performance here in Telangana, and some statistics seem to be giving them a lot of confidence.
Karnataka was at the top in the digital membership drive taken up by the party last year while Telangana stood second — Karnataka Congress registered 62 lakh members and Telangana, a much smaller state, enrolled 43 lakh members. “The numbers are verified with the voter card details of eligible voters of the Election Commission of India and there is no scope for manipulation,” says enrolment in-charge of Telangana, Harkara Venugopal.
A senior member of the party’s strategist Sunil Kanugolu’s team said the sincere efforts put in during the membership drive in Karnataka yielded good results in the recent elections. The entire party campaign and strategy was run through the booth leaders of these registered members to ensure that each voter in every village was reached much before the entry of big leaders into the campaign.
“I have spent three months in Karnataka and my experience shows that the digital membership gave a solid base for the party to touch every voter,” he said while adding that the impact of it in Telangana will be much better with 43 lakh members for a State half the size of Karnataka.
He relates it to the party membership and votes polled in the previous elections. The Congress secured about 1.39 crore votes in the 2018 Assembly elections in Karnataka when the membership was much less. Now with 62 lakh members, the votes polled are much higher in 2023. The final figure is yet to come but it will be much higher than 1.39 crore as the voter percentage increased by almost 7%.
In comparison, Congress polled 58 lakh-odd votes in Telangana in the 2018 elections when the membership was unorganised. Now with digitisation, where the voter card is mapped with the membership details, the party could enroll 44 lakh verified members. Sunil Kanugolu’s team expects the party will secure over 80 lakh votes going by the 1:2 formula (one member and two votes.) Of course, the campaign strategies matter a lot in securing these votes.
The strategy team members argue that the political atmosphere in Telangana is similar to that of Karnataka with considerable anti-incumbency feeling. It will also be a three-cornered contest here with Congress, BRS and BJP trying to woo the voters. The BJP will end up like the Janata Dal (Secular) in Telangana, the party strategists argue. “While BRS and Congress have appeal in all the communities, the BJP doesn’t have any big community backing. The Hindutva card will not work in south India, unlike the northern States,” he said.
The BJP doesn’t have any big community backing. The Hindutva card will not work in south India, unlike the northern States.
Senior member of party strategist Sunil Kanugolu’s team