After Chief Minister K Chandrashekar Rao dissolved the Assembly, hectic political activity is being witnessed in the state. The TRS is trying to tear into the Congress, recalling the situation that prevailed in Telangana before bifurcation, and says that the state would once again witness high-level of corruption, power shortage, land grabbing, rowdyism, communal violence and shortage of water for drinking and irrigation purposes, if people do not vote for it. If Congress comes to power, then the rulers of the state, which was achieved after a prolonged struggle, would become slaves of Delhi as the Congress leaders will continue to wag their tails before their high command as they did in the past, the TRS warns people.
Warming up to enemy’s enemy
While the next few weeks will demonstrate if the opposition really has necessary wherewithal to defeat the TRS, the opposition parties and the TRS are in fact locked in a bigger war and it is not just limited to Telangana. The target to be specific is 2019 Lok Sabha elections. The dissolution of the Telangana Assembly is also part of this game plan. This apparently is a counter move by the forces which are pro-BJP. The fact is that team A members including as many as 17 (as of now) anti-BJP parties like Congress, SP, BSP, TMC, TDP, JDS etc., are in close touch and have been moving their cards fast. Sensing the trouble, the BJP too has started indulging in surgical strike and first such one is encouraging dissolution of the Telangana Assembly.
Hence the time-tested formula of ‘The enemy of my enemy is my friend’ is being implemented by all parties. That is why the TDP in Telangana is showing interest in some kind of understanding with Congress party. Soon after the dissolution of the Assembly, the ruling TRS and voters are curious about how two arch-rivals (TDP and Congress) can enter into a sort of live-in relationship and what could be its impact in Andhra elections.
But as the maze seems to be slowly getting cleared, it now appears that the Congress party will contest about 90 seats in Telangana and will leave 25 for its allies like TDP, TJS and the left parties. Even the possibility of the TPCC chief N Uttam Kumar Reddy meeting the TDP president N Chandrababu Naidu on Saturday is not ruled out. The main strategy behind Congress and TDP coming together seems to slow down the pink car and regain the lost ground for the yellow party. Though the TDP had performed extraordinarily well in the 2014 elections when T sentiment was its peak, later it got decimated as all its leaders, MPs, and MLAs switched loyalties to the TRS.
However, the TDP and the Congress strongly believe that the settlers from Andhra Pradesh in greater Hyderabad area and BCs in the state who have always been the backbone of TDP would still sail with them. The settlers, TDP feels, will go with them because of their anger against Modi for having cheated the people of AP. The TDP feels that if it can get back some foothold in Greater Hyderabad constituencies and Nizamabad and a couple of other districts, it can certainly re-emerge as a force to be reckoned with. This would help them in giving a tough fight to TRS in the Lok Sabha elections.
The Congress and the TDP leaders are of the opinion that the former will get a big chunk of upper caste Reddy, SC/ST and minority votes and the TDP can get a substantial number of its core OBC votes. The TDP is primarily known as a party of the backward classes and its leaders claim that the TDP has 7% to 25% vote share in about 40 Assembly seats in Telangana.
KCR may very well stage a comeback in the Assembly elections because he is still the most popular and powerful leader in Telangana but then the bull’s eye for TRS and other opposition parties appears to be Lok Sabha elections that would follow the T Assembly elections, a couple of months later.
If anyone thinks that KCR, the hero of Telangana, is facing new threat or challenges, then it would mean that he is politically naïve. The Assembly elections in Telangana state will only be an exercise for warming up of political parties and to evolve strategies to contain or defeat or save the BJP at the national level. Interestingly, both the southern teams A and B are being led by two political stalwarts and master strategists N Chandrababu Naidu and KCR.
Political circles are also abuzz with rumours that KCR wants the BJP to field candidates who would dent the Congress votes wherever it can afford to. The TRS think-tank feels that this would help them get at least 75 seats and in such a case it would be in a position to go hammer and tongs against the Congress in Lok Sabha elections which would help catapult the TRS into a situation where it can keep the BJP guessing ahead of the 2019 Lok Sabha elections. KCR’s history shows that when he has all the cards he can’t be taken for granted. In the event of TRS winning with a narrow majority, it can think of firming itself up with the BJP and head into the 2019 polls.
If the BJP fails to get an absolute majority during the Lok Sabha polls, then certainly TRS will have a great opportunity to play the role of a king maker. The TDP, too, wants to be the king maker after 2019 elections. Hence it wants to go with Congress in TS as the common enemy of TDP both during AP assembly and Lok Sabha elections is BJP. It now remains to be seen in which direction the Mission Chandrayaan would travel and what results it would achieve.