People’s victory

People’s victory

Taking everyone by surprise, the Telangana Rashtra Samiti TRS logged in a landslide victory on Tuesday in its battle for Telangana by capturing 87 of the 119 seats in the Assembly, decimating the Congressled Peoples Front in the process

Hyderabad: Taking everyone by surprise, the Telangana Rashtra Samiti (TRS) logged in a landslide victory on Tuesday in its battle for Telangana by capturing 87 of the 119 seats in the Assembly, decimating the Congress-led People's Front in the process.

An elated TRS chief K Chandrasekhar Rao is preparing for his swearing in ceremony on December 14. Ahead of the event, the Chief Minister will preside over the Telangana Rashtra Samiti Legislature Party (TRSLP) meeting at Telangana Bhavan on Wednesday. KCR described the victory as people's victory over the forces that were bent on impeding the progress and growth of the state. Said KCR: "This is a verdict given by farmers, women, the poor, Backward Classes and Dalits, rising above the considerations of caste and community.” The TRS' tally of 88 seats was 24 seats more than its score of 63 seats in 2014 at the height of Telangana movement, which was just above the halfway mark then.

The electors who were not very sure and just gave wafer thin majority to the TRS then, seemed to have changed their mind now and wanted KCR to have a second term with clear and comfortable majority.

Chandrasekhar Rao left very few seats for the Opposition parties. The Congress ended up with 19, BJP one and TRS’ ally MIM, seven seats. The TRS took the Telugu Desam party - an important constituent of the People's Front - to the cleaners, while the Telangana Jana Samiti (TJS) started by Prof M Kodandaram who played a key role in the Telangana movement between 2009 and 2014, suffered a molecular disintegration.

At the end of the day, the TDP won two seats as against 13 seats it contested while TJS drew a blank as against eight seats it had fought. Similar was the fate of the CPI, which was fourth constituent of the front, though it contested three seats.

The TRS suffered a few reverses here, it lost four of its ministers – Ajmeera Chandulal, Thummala Nageswara Rao, Patnam Mahender Reddy and Jupalli Krishna Rao and Speaker S Madhusudhana Chary; but it also created electoral history in Siddipet where Minister T Harish Rao retained the seat with a majority of over 1.18 lakh votes.

The Congress lost most of its senior leaders – K Jana Reddy, A Revanth Reddy, Ponnam Prabhakar, Komatireddy Venkata Reddy, DK Aruna, Ponnala Lakshmaiah, Shabber Ali, Damodar Rajanarasimha, Chinna Reddy, Konda Surekha, J Gita Reddy and Sunita Lakshma Reddy.

Telangana Congress president N Uttam Kumar Reddy, who managed to retain his Huzurnagar seat, suspected tampering of the EVMs elsewhere and demanded that the Election Commission should count all the Voter Verifiable Paper Audit Trail (VVPAT) images to dispel doubts in the minds of the people that the verdict may have been tampered with electronically while AP Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu, who led People's Front campaign in Telangana, said the verdict showed clearly that the people had rejected the BJP just as the way it had happened in respect of the other four states in the north.

More than anything else, the strategy of Chandrasekhar Rao in inflaming Telangana passion appears to have done the trick in helping him win the elections but there were other factors too that helped him. They included Rythu Bandhu under which he gave away cash of Rs 8,000 per acre in a year, Rythu Bheema, Rs 1000 pensions to the aged and wedding gifts to girls in the name of Kalyana Lakshmi and Shadi Mubarak of Rs 1.16 lakh.

This apart, the ongoing irrigation schemes, mainly Kaleshwaram, stood as sentinel to the commitment of the TRS chief to the objective of providing irrigation facility to one crore acres in the state. The people who were witness to the ongoing works of Kaleshwaram, drinking water scheme of Mission Bhagiratha and so on had apparently felt that the TRS would show the same commitment in executing the other irrigation projects like the Palamuru Ranga Reddy Lift, Dindi and Sitarama Projects and supported the pink party.

That Telangana sentiment was alive across the state was evident all the time with voters referring Telangana Rashtra Samiti as Telangana which indicated that they wanted to protect and preserve Telangana state from the alleged inroads of AP Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu.

In the beginning, when Chandrasekhar Rao dissolved the Assembly on September 6, the only weapon the TRS had in its armory was development and welfare schemes. But once Chandrababu Naidu materialized on the scene, leading the Congress-led People's Front, Chandrasekhar Rao, in a shrewd move, began polarizing the people on his side by inflaming the Telangana sentiment.

Describing Chandrababu Naidu as Telangana traitor, though Naidu ruled the undivided state of AP only till 2004, the Telangana Chief minister kept narrating how he tried to prevent the bifurcation of the state as leader of Opposition.

According to analysts, Chandrasekhar Rao had two objectives in mind when he launched an attack on Naidu, one to rekindle the sentiment and another to provoke Naidu to attack him which Naidu did unwittingly, not knowing that it would hurt the pride of Telangana people, which helped in faster consolidation of the voters on TRS side.

Apart from his initiatives what seems to have helped KCR was the support given by his friend and MIM chief Asaduddin Owaisi who appealed to the Muslims across the state to support KCR which had helped significantly like in Mahbubnagar and in Nirmal where Muslims support to the TRS was quite evident.

What came as a heartening development was the confidence reposed by the Seema-Andhra voters in the TRS in the 25 and odd segments in and around Hyderabad. Though Naidu concentrated in campaigning in these segments, he could not influence them as the average Andhra voters probably felt that TRS was a better bet as they began increasingly identifying themselves with Hyderabad, forgetting their roots in AP.

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