Bifurcation of Andhra Pradesh in 2014 is a decision that has hit the Congress, the BJP and the Left, which has been hit the hardest. Their very survival is at stake in the two Telugu speaking States of Andhra Pradesh (AP) and Telangana.
The Congress-led UPA Government under Prime Minister (I), under the leadership of then prime minister Manmohan Singh took the decision to create Telangana hoping to derive political advantage. Not only did it fail to capitalise on it, but got destroyed in AP and was reduced to a weak Opposition in Telangana.
The BJP, which lent opportunistic support to the Congress in the Lok Sabha, to push through the bifurcation, gained marginally in Telangana with five MLA and one MP seat. In alliance with the Telugu Desam Party (TDP) in AP, it won four MLA and two MP seats.
However, the best efforts of the Congress to revive have come a cropper, while the BJP has retreated its growth plans in favour of the regional allies — the TRS and the YSR Congress. After Tamil Nadu, the two Telugu States are eclipsing the national parties.
Dim prospects for Cong
Congress President Rahul Gandhi’s best efforts to take on K Chandrasekhar Rao, Chief Minister and Chief of TRS, didn’t yield results.
Despite its move to form the Praja Front — an alliance it forged with the TDP, the Telangana Jana Samithi and the CPI — the party performed worse than in 2014. Ten of the 19 MLAs have defected to the ruling TRS.
The Congress is going it alone Telangana, which has 17 Lok Sabha seats. Unless it wins four-five seats, the party will be pushed to the verge of extinction in the State.
In AP, the people’s anger against the bifurcation resulted in the complete decimation of the party. It failed to secure a single seat out of 175 seats in the Assembly and 25 in the Lok Sabha. More than half a dozen Ministers in the Manmohan Singh Cabinet lost.
No expansion for BJP
The BJP has decided to cave in both the States in the interest of surviving in power at the Centre.
The Modi-Shah duo has invested and is waiting for KCR and YS Jagan to do well. In that case, the BJP hopes to get their support if they fall short of a majority.
In 2014, the BJP with five seats in Assembly and an MP in Telangana had the best chance to expand. Claiming its role in the creation of Telangana, the party’s State leadership backed by Amit Shah did initiate measures. But, realpolitik overtook hope and Modi-KCR struck an understanding in 2017.
The BJP got wiped out in 2018 Assembly polls. Its lone winner, Raja Singh, won on his own , while party president K Laxman was humbled in his Musheerabad constituency.
The same strategy is continuing for the Lok Sabha elections on April 11. The best case scenario is to retain Secunderabad and wrest Mahbubnagar. For the record, it is contesting in all 17 seats.
AP and Telangana together send a 42-strong Telugu speaking contingent to the Lok Sabha.