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Nizamabad LS results: A grim reminder to TRS

Nizamabad LS results: A grim reminder to TRS
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After the impressive sweep in the State Assembly elections in December 2018, with clear indications of a hands down victory by pre-poll surveys, the...

After the impressive sweep in the State Assembly elections in December 2018, with clear indications of a hands down victory by pre-poll surveys, the Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) was pretty confident of a landslide win in the Lok Sabha elections.

However, the May 23 results came as a rude shock to the pink party leaders and their supporters. The TRS, which was cocksure of winning 16 out of 17 Lok Sabha seats in the State, could manage to get only nine seats, much to the embarrassment of the party headman and the rank and file alike.

The worst was the poll outcome of Nizamabad constituency where the poster girl of TRS cultural wing and Chief Minister K Chandrashekar Rao's daughter K Kavitha bit the dust in the hands young BJP candidate D Arvind.

On the face of it, it may just appear that Kavitha was unseated but if delve deep into it, we can clearly see the anger of people against their incumbent MP being translated into votes.

Apart from Kavitha, the candidates in the fray were D Aravind of BJP, Madhu Yakshi Goud of Congress, three others and, most importantly 180 farmers. Springing a surprise, the BJP candidate won the polls with a vote share of 45.22 percent, that was seven percent more than that of TRS sitting MP Kavitha.

Initially, the nominations filed by the agitating farmers were treated as a nominal challenge and there was no groundswell of support for the two national parties – the Congress and the BJP. However, the voters delivered the verdict in the BJP's favour, which had no mass base in the constituency.

There are several factors that led to the rout of TRS in Nizamabad. It may be recalled that in the last Assembly elections, TRS won all seven segments in Nizamabad Lok Sabha constituency, but in a span of a few months, the mindset of people seemed to have changed completely.

If speculations are to be believed, it is the tacit support of the Congress to the saffron party which helped the BJP to gain victory.

Close examination of the voting statistics indicates that the Congress loyalists favoured the BJP this time. Also, Aravind's intensive campaign against the TRS, highlighting its failure, seemed to have helped in garnering wider support for the party.

Going by the personality quotient, familiarity of voters with D Srinivas (Rajya Sabha Member) and D Sanjay (former City Mayor) - the father and elder brother of D Aravind respectively - could have boosted his image and favored him as a BC leader.

Bathukamma-fame first woman parliamentarian from Nizamabad, Kavitha, had a long association with the people as Telangana movement activist, but her overconfidence of a repeat victory of the TRS and negligence of developmental works and farmers' concerns heavily contributed to her loss.

Considering the poll data, we see in the Assembly-wise segments that the TRS got more share in Nizamabad Urban and Bodhan and less in Nizamabad Rural and four other segments.

About 76.9 percent of population in Nizamabad constituency resides in rural areas which means that agitating turmeric farmers did not vote for the TRS and though there was still some sympathy for Kavitha among the urban voters.

The total percentage of polling in this constituency stood at 60.57 percent (10,62,768 votes) out of which the farmers altogether polled about 97,457 votes.

The simplest reason could be that, in the Assembly elections, people voted for the regional party keeping regional factors in mind while, at the national level, they chose to elect national players although the TRS bagged the second position.

Just as in other parts of the country, in Telangana too, the BJP banked on the Modi wave which possibly helped in consolidating the support for the party. Plus, the promise to establish the Turmeric Board made by Union Minister Rajnath Singh on his visit to Nizamabad also seems to have worked for the party.

Now that the voters have elected their leader for the next five years, the first task at hand for BJP MP Aravind is to persuade the NDA government to increase the minimum support price for various crops and establish a Turmeric Board to ensure next term for himself.

If he fails to execute this promise, then the farmers will resume their fight. On the other hand, former MP Kavitha should continue to work and serve the people in the constituency if she wants to regain the trust of Nizamabad voters in the next polls.

Fatima Hasan, Hyderabad

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