Telangana: who will benefit from the split?

M Somasekhar Hyderabad | Updated on March 12, 2018 Published on April 28, 2014

Across party lines Rashtriya Lok Dal leader Jayaprada (right)campaigning for Jayasudha Kapoor, Congress candidate for theSecunderabad Assembly seat. PV SIVAKUMAR

Cong, TRS would like to take full credit, but the TDP-BJP combine stakes its claim too

It’s building up towards a close finish for the April 30 elections in Telangana, the to-be-formed 29th State. Voting , will take place simultaneously for the 119 Assembly and 17 Lok Sabha seats.

In the game of credit on who fought for and got statehood for Telangana, the honours are getting evenly split between the ruling Congress and the Telangana Rastra Samithi (TRS), with the BJP a distant third. The challenge then remains — who will work harder to develop the new State.

The Telangana region has 119 Assembly seats. To come to power with a simple majority a party or an alliance has to win 60 seats. In the present Assembly, the TRS had won 17 seats, the Congress 48 and the TDP 34.

It looks as if no single party will be able to muster a simple majority on its own in the Assembly with surveys indicating that the Congress or the TRS will fall short by 10-15 seats. This means an alliance will have to be worked out after the elections.

If it is not Congress-TRS getting together to form the government, then either of them will have to reach out and get support from the MIM (Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen), CPI and Independents, if any.

In the Congress’ election campaign led by Sonia Gandhi, Rahul and Jairam Ramesh in the region, the thrust has been on how the party delivered on its promise of forming a separate Telangana and the deception by TRS chief K Chandrasekhara Rao.

Chance to build

In contrast, KCR is doling out tonnes of promises and urging the voter to give his party a chance to build Telangana.

The advantage for the Congress is that its presence is well spread out in all the 10 districts, when compared to the TRS, which is strong only in a handful of districts in Telangana. Only in Hyderabad, especially in the old city consisting of around 7-8 constituencies, the MIM dominates.

The problems for the Congress are that it faces anti-incumbency after being in power for 10 years. Also, there are too many CM aspirants. The 75-plus candidates of the YSR Congress of Jagan Reddy could well affect the Congress’ chances by splitting the votes.

The TRS has taken a calculated gamble by deciding to go it alone. First, it hopes to take full credit for the formation of Telangana.

Second, it wants to keep its options open at the Centre after the elections. KCR, being the star campaigner, has adopted 3-D hologram technology to reach out to as many villages as possible and has gone full throttle with his rhetoric.

For the TRS, the main limitation is that its strength is concentrated in the districts of Medak, Mahboobnagar, Warangal, Karimnagar and parts of Nizamabad and Adilabad.

Its virtual absence in Hyderabad and Ranga Reddy districts, which have 25 seats and a high concentration of people from Seemandhra and other States, means it will have to put up a spectacular show in the places where it is strong to come to power on its own.

The TDP and the BJP have laboured themselves into an alliance, driven more by compulsion than willingness. Though the TDP has a strong presence in terms of MLAs and cadre, it surrendered 47 seats to the BJP as it is identified as being anti-Telangana. The BJP, on the other hand, did help clear the Bill.

Chandrababu Naidu is trying to reduce the damage by announcing that the CM will be from the backward caste. He is also focussing on his role in developing Brand Hyderabad. Parliamentary polls

The outcome of the polls to the 17 LS seats in Telangana is being keenly watched. The Congress, with no TRS alliance, may find it tough to get more than 10 seats and benefit from its decision to split AP. By going it alone and winning 7-10 seats, the TRS hopes to position itself in national politics in the event of a coalition Government.

For the BJP, with its TDP alliance, every seat is significant. It is banking on the youth and new voters.

Published on April 28, 2014
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