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Subliminal message from Telangana municipal polls

Subliminal message from Telangana municipal polls
Highlights

The Telangana Rashtra Samiti (TRS) believes and wants everyone to believe that all roads in the State lead to Telangana Bhavan. It is true that the ruling party continues to receive handsome mandate from people in elections after elections. It is also true that the opposition is caught at the cross roads as the TRS juggernaut makes them run helter skelter. 

The Telangana Rashtra Samiti (TRS) believes and wants everyone to believe that all roads in the State lead to Telangana Bhavan. It is true that the ruling party continues to receive handsome mandate from people in elections after elections. It is also true that the opposition is caught at the cross roads as the TRS juggernaut makes them run helter skelter.

Though the TRS is making significant gains, the State politics cannot be described as and will not remain one-way street. The undercurrents emerging from the mandate are significant. Both the Congress and the BJP continue to be relevant in the State politics, which is evident from the municipal results.

It is, therefore, erroneous to write their obituary just because the TRS could register a scintillating show in a few elections. However, these parties have to create a political climate for themselves. As for TDP, TRS could make it irrelevant by engineering defections and painting it as pro-Andhra party

The lacklustre performance of the opposition coupled with the TRS political machinations has left the opposition red faced. But, it is also equally true that the opposition is wounded, but still remains a force in whatever limited way it could. The results of municipal polls in Siddipet now and Warangal earlier send this subtle message that often goes unnoticed in the glamour and glitter of electoral success.

In both Siddipet and Warangal, rebels from the TRS could hurt the party in more than significant manner. This phenomenon is more noteworthy in Siddipet given the town's political proximity to KCR's family. Victory in Siddipet is a foregone conclusion for TRS. Given the invincible popularity of the legislator from here and Irrigation Minister T Harish Rao, none had entertained even an iota of scepticism over the TRS win.

But, the political circles cannot miss the message from the fact that over half a dozen rebels who contested over the party's official nominees could win the elections. They may join the TRS bandwagon tomorrow. But, this would not negate the fact that TRS did lose the battle here.

There are more subliminal trends from these results. The Congress has lost but has not laid down the arms. The party could make its presence felt in both Siddipet and Warangal. Its victory in Khammam is more pronounced. This indicates the inherent capability of a party that has a potential to make a comeback if political currents are conducive. The TRS cannot remain complacent as politics cannot be a one-way street.

The municipal polls, however, send disturbing signals for the TDP. The party continues to be decimated as it is yet to acclimatise itself to the adverse political climate heralded by the bifurcation of the State. The bifurcation has proved to be a boon for TDP in Andhra Pradesh, while it remains a bane for the party in Telangana.

It is yet to reinvent its political idiom to strike back. But, the BJP’s limited success in Siddipet is far better than its performance in Hyderabad which the saffron party believes to be its stronghold.

The simultaneous victory of BJP and MIM in Siddipet reveals the potential of politics of social polarisation in Telangana State. The TRS is still oblivious to the portentous political trend. It may be exaggerating to conclude so. But, it is certainly not an exaggeration to comment so.

The MIM by responding to the BJP’s political propaganda machine seems to be gaining in its natural constituency. Both the BJP and the MIM are the different sides of the same political spectrum – each breeds the growth of the other.

The ruling TRS is still not eager to respond to the polemics of BJP. A TRS leader told the Parliament that it finds no intolerance except that it is intolerant of the non-implementation of the State Reorganisation Act. This reveals that the TRS is averse to engage in the secular debate prevailing in the country today.

The party maintained almost a strategic silence when the political parties across the nation were engaged in a bitter war of words on a range of issues including the Bharat Mata controversy, beef ban, Ghar wapsi, love jihad, Rohith Vemula episode, etc. The TRS’ hidden strategy is the reason behind this strategic silence on a wide range of issues unleashed on the nation's political landscape by BJP parivar. The party is not ready to antagonise the BJP.

The overt reason is the state government's anxiety to have an intimate relationship with the Centre, all in the name of development of Telangana. The TRS seems to be politically affianced to BJP, the covert reason being the political calculations behind aligning with BJP at least on a future date.

The TRS is not inclined to rule out a possibility of joining hands with the BJP. Whether or not it aligns with BJP, the TRS has successfully ensured that the BJP does not take a strident anti-government stand. The State BJP is completely clueless on assessing its relations with TRS as the party all India leadership takes the final call in such political matters.

The possibility of its all India leadership choosing the TRS as an ally always lingers in the minds of State BJP leadership, making them incapacitated to fight the ruling party in the State.

The TRS could make TDP irrelevant by engineering defections and painting it as pro-Andhra party. The TRS also succeeded in making BJP gutless in its fight against government. The Left is marginalised. The Congress claims to be ready to take on the TRS. But, it is a divided house. It is yet to mobilise its forces.

Both the Congress and the BJP continue to be relevant in the State politics, which is evident from the municipal results. It is, therefore, erroneous to write their obituary just because the ruling TRS could register a scintillating show in a few elections. However, these parties have to create a political climate for themselves.

But, the opposition parties instead of taking up the people’s issues in the right earnest are bogged down in their personal tirade against KCR and his family.

The Congress is sure to gain if the TRS extends a hand of friendship to BJP. The possibility of TRS–BJP tie-up is a challenge to both parties. The TRS will have to face a formidable opposition as several sections hostile to BJP, especially the minorities, will get alienated from TRS.

This is much more significant at a time when TRS is penetrating into minority bastions too, as was evident from the GHMC results. The BJP’s ambition of achieving a Congress-mukth Bharat will be hit if Congress gains in Telangana.

An yet another possibility being talked about in the political circles in the State is the Congress and the TDP ganging up against the TRS onslaught. This possibility cannot be ruled out even in Andhra Pradesh. This would certainly be a win-win situation for both Congress and TDP much to the chagrin of TRS.

Meanwhile, the victory of a large number of rebels raises the question of any new political force emerging in the State as the opposition is ill-equipped to counter the TRS. But, such a political outcome is hindered by lack of a credible leadership who can galvanise the non-TRS forces unenthused by the opposition.

Though the TRS is making significant gains, the State politics cannot be described as and will not remain one-way street. The undercurrents emerging from the municipal mandate are, therefore, significant.

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