The poll campaign, which started very late in Telangana, is heating up as the BJP and Congress line up their top leaders for the campaign in the next two weeks.

Encouraged by good turnouts at Narendra Modi’s rally in Secunderabad and public meeting at Zaheerabad, the party is pulling him in for another round of campaign close to the polling date – in the second week of May.

The rally by senior BJP leader Amit Shah too was successful, bringing cheer to the BJP cadre, who were largely dependent on State-level leaders for the campaign. The party, which surprised everyone last time by winning four seats in the 2019 Lok Sabha election, is gunning for eight seats this time.

The party’s performance in the Assembly election was a dampener as it won only eight seats, a relatively low number considering its strength in the LS election in the State.

The Congress could dramatically increase its tally from a low single digit (it lost several MLAs to the BRS in large-scale defections after the 2018 elections to the Assembly) to 66 seats in the 2023 December election.

The party, which won power for the first time after the formation of the State in 2024, is trying to repeat the success by winning at least 10-12 seats, making it the second biggest contributor to the Cong kitty after Karnataka.

The party, which so far relied on Chief Minister and PCC President A Revanth Reddy for the campaign, is getting AICC President Mallikarjuna Kharge, and star campaigners Rahul Gandhi and Priyanka Gandhi over the next few days to improve its prospects.

BRS strategy

The Bharatiya Rashtra Samithi (BRS), which suffered a humiliating defeat in the 2023 elections, started the campaign trail on a feeble note.

It, however, succeeded in making a dramatic comeback as far as visibility is concerned after its President K Chandrashekar Rao upped the ante by launching a bus tour across the State.

He is attacking the State government saying it failed to meet the poll promises made in the Assembly elections. He, along with his son KT Rama Rao and nephew T Harish Rao – the other two prominent speakers in the party – are focusing on the government’s failure to waive the farmers’ loans, frequent power cuts and slow pace of rabi paddy procurement.

This put Congress on the defence as the majority of the seats that it won were from rural areas. Knowing well the importance of farmers’ votes, Revanth Reddy has been taking a vow by invoking the names of local gods to impress the voters.

At a time when the BRS, which suffered heavily in the last three months in the form of large-scale defections of its MLAs and MPs to the Congress, was making good inroads in its former strongholds, the Election Commission’s ban on KCR from campaigning for two days dealt a heavy blow.

The EC took the decision, responding to a complaint by Congress over the remarks that KCR made on the party in April. The BRS strongly criticised the EC move, saying it turned a blind eye to the comments made by leaders Revanth Reddy and Narendra Modi.

The ban causes damage to the BRS, which is trying to win maximum seats, to play a critical role in national politics in case a hung-Parliament situation emerges after the counting of votes next month. It is also trying to prove a point that the Congress won the elections by fluke and that KCR’s charisma is still intact.

Interestingly, the BRS is not trying to make the arrest and interrogation of KCR’s daughter Kavitha in the Delhi liquor scam a political issue.

The AAP and other INDIA bloc leaders are attacking the Modi government, alleging that it is using law-enforcing agencies to arrest its political opponents ahead of the general elections.

The State unit of Congress, which initially used it as a political issue, is also going slow, taking note of the party’s stand on the issue at the national level.

Revanth Reddy, a street fighter, has become a target of the BJP’s national leadership after he highlighted the deepfake video where Amit Shah was seen as talking against the reservations.

The BJP suffered heavily across the country as several other political leaders took up the issue, alleging that the Modi government would do away with the reservations if it is voted back to power.

Realising the potential damage, it got police notices served to Revanth Reddy and a few other leaders.

 As the May 13 polling date approaches, the State is expected to witness increased political activity, with top leaders from the three major parties participating in numerous public meetings and rallies.