Telangana is in the grip of election fever. There has been sudden spurt in political activity. The way the government has been on a spree to announce various schemes for different sections in society and the President’s nod to the long pending zonal system soon after Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao’s meeting with Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the proposed mega meeting where over 20 lakh people are expected to participate gives ample indication that the pink party is gearing up for advancing the elections by couple of months.
Kongara Kalan to clear the mist
It is undisputed fact that there is an undercurrent in Telangana against the ruling party on many issues. But there does not appear to be a single force that can convert it into anti-TRS votes. The opposition is not strong enough to upset the TRS applecart. The Congress on its own is not confident that it would be able to give a tough fight to TRS and hence is in the process of searching for alliance partners. It wants to take on the TRS with the help of other like-minded parties. But who are they? That is to be watched. The TDP which was a force to be reckoned with in TS has been mauled in the last four years. The BJP is now a friendly party for TRS. The Left is not in a position to challenge the TRS. The MIM is an ally of TRS.
Even if TPCC brings Rahul Gandhi to the state once a month as it had planned earlier, the big question is, can the Congress give a tough fight. Issues like Rafael deal may not cut much ice with the people here. However, not to be left behind, the AICC has started the exercise to finalise the first list of candidates and the issues to be incorporated in the manifesto. While claiming to be battle-ready, the Congress heart of heart feels that the Election Commission will not agree to hold elections to TS Assembly along with Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Rajasthan and Mizoram.
Though TRS is throwing hints that there would be early elections, it too is not very confident, the Congress claims. There are conflicting signals. Some say that the Centre has not given any assurance that TS would go to polls along with other four states. Some say that KCR has got a clear assurance to the effect and that is why even Amit Shah during his brief stoppage at Hyderabad airport on Thursday told state party leaders to be ready for elections. The state leaders say that they have been only asked to prepare for any eventuality and that Amit Shah did not indicate anything about advancing the elections.
But when one weighs the pros and cons at this stage, indications seem to be more in favour of early elections. The mega meeting at Kongara Kalan on September 2 is likely to give greater clarity. This meeting will not only list out its achievements but is also likely to give an indication into what the TRS proposes to do in next five years.
The Chief Minister is likely to make a marathon speech for nearly two hours lashing at how the Congress and the TDP in the united Andhra Pradesh had done injustice to the state and how in 54 months, the TRS has “reversed” the situation and was in the process of achieving Bangaru Telangana. A lot of rhetoric and fireworks against the opposition parties particularly the Congress is expected at the meeting.
KCR apart from listing out the achievements of the party would explain in detail about the new zonal system. KCR would explain how the state government aims to enable 95% reservations to locals where employment opportunities in the public sector are concerned. The zonal system is one of the key agendas of KCR's speech on September 2, when he plans to address a mammoth party meet on the outskirts of Hyderabad. Reservations for locals in jobs was one of key promises made by the TRS during the Telangana movement for separate statehood. This had become necessary in the wake of the raising the number of districts from 11 to 31.
The TRS feels that the zonal system would be a major issue in the polls as it would help the youth most. The new zonal system, pink party, claims is a boon for unemployed youngsters and government employees. About 95 per cent of the jobs would be reserved for them. That is, those who have lived here for four consecutive years during their education from class one to seven would be treated as natives. The employees too will get promotions and they would be able to work in Hyderabad in future. Working in Hyderabad was denied to certain categories of government employees in the past.
In the earlier system, in combined Andhra Pradesh youth in Telangana cried foul and alleged that people from Andhra region had taken away majority of government jobs in Telangana region and that there were no equitable opportunities to the people from different parts of the state. Before bifurcation of the state there were only six zones, four in Andhra Pradesh and two in Telangana and hence this new system had become a necessity.
This new system would help people of backward districts like Adilabad, Komaram Bheem and Jayashankar Bhupalpally districts more. Since there would be no direct recruitment for state cadre posts, 95% of locals will get jobs under the new system. It is the youth, farmers, women and BCs who hold the key to winning elections for any party and the TRS wants to win them over.