Issue :   
November 2018 Edition of Power Politics is updated.         November 2018 Edition of Power Politics is updated.
Issue:November' 2018

TELANGANA SCENE

KCR may still win !

Duggaraju Srinivasa Rao

K Chandrasekhar Rao The political scenario in Telangana is changing much faster than expected. When the Chief Minister of Telangana, KCR, announced his decision to go to polls almost nine months in advance, it was thought that he caught the opponents off guard and would run away with emphatic victory. His announcement of candidates for the poles in 105 out of 119 constituencies was seen as the sign of confidence.
As one month passed and the Election Commission dashed KCR’s hope for November elections and scheduled it for 7th December, everything is changing giving some worry to the KCR, camp. Though the surveys and analysts still give slight upper hand to KCR, they say it not that smooth run for TRS as people are not convinced with the reasons for early elections.
People of Telangana are not too happy with the family dominance on party and government. They feel that society has not got the benefits from the separate state formation. When one family and one community get the predominant role, naturally people will get dissatisfaction and that is what’s happening in Telangana now. Where the social justice in the state is and where the much publicised Golden Telangana are the questions now people ask.

Asaduddin Owaisi There was, no doubt, that KCR initiated many socially beneficial schemes and some of them are highly successful. KCR proudly claims that his programmes touched almost 97% of the population in the state and he repeatedly asserts that he is going to win not less than 100 seats in the assembly. Mathematically speaking, that is true. The same mathematical calculations are being made by the opposition camp to claim victory.
The Congress, which is the main opposition party, points out that KCR, even at the height of Telangana sentiment in 2014, could win only 35% of vote share and 63 seats, bare three seat majority in the Assembly. The combined opposition of Congress, TDP and others put together got remaining 65 per cent.
That statistics fell flat as KCR could engineer defections from all other parties and by 2016 itself TRS party strength rose to 105. All influential leaders, former ministers including the former state Congress presidents defected.
Another advantage of KCR is the solid support he is getting from MIM chief and MP Asaduddin Owaisi. Last time MIM won 7 seats in its strong hold of old city of Hyderabad. This time KCR may offer over 10 seats to MIM, which was an ally of Congress for over 5 decades.
The loss of Muslim backing is going to hit Congress, TDP hard. That KCR is getting this support despite his not fulfilling the promise of giving Muslims 12% quota in education and jobs. The TRS believe their coming back to power not because the people of Telangana are happy with KCR but because there is no one in the opposition camp who can match his jugglery with words and instant wit and also counter attack word to word, issue to issue.

Chandrababu Naidu KCR has no qualms in instigating, the people of Telangana, in desperation of victory, against the Andhra people while others can’t do that spread of hatred towards fellow Telugu people. As campaign peaks, the gutter language initiated by KCR and opponents response in the same way may further vitiate the political situation as it is a question of political survival of nearly 40 excabinet ministers and this election is going to decide the political future of TDP in Telangana and also impact Chandrababu Naidu in Andhra Pradish.
So Chandrababu Naidu is desperately clinging to the Congress calling that as ‘democratic necessity’ whatever that may mean. For the Congress party, it is the only state in the South where leaders and cadre are still left, beside the Karnataka. For their Rahul in PM chair dream, victory in Telangana is needed. It is that desperation which is giving a chance for grand alliance in Telangana, led by the Congress and throwing a challenge to TRS.BJP is in a peculiar situation as it can’t challenge KCR seriously and lose a prospective ally in post 2019 elections. BJP has to protect the interest of KCR and also see that the Congress does not come to power in this state.

Internal trouble is brewing for KCR. Dissidents are either shifting their allegiance to other parties or waiting for the chance to sabotage the chances of official candidates, particularly those who came from other parties. They almost number 30 and loss of that many seats will certainly hit the KCR morale.
The prospect of dissidence in the party is a worrying point for KCR and his family. There are also stories coming out that some of his coterie members are questioning his wisdom of early election.

The real challenge for KCR may not come from the political parties but from the dissatisfied voters. Performance of MLAs is lacklustre. Questioning the sitting MLAs during their visits to villages has already started. KCR will also be questioned on his family-centric power arrangement. His son, nephew, daughter are all in elected positions. It is family which is running the show, controlling the finances and allegedly minting money through implementation of many projects. KCR has to answer about his unfulfilled promises. The biggest promise was the supply of water to all the households, distribution of 3 acres of land to each Dalit family, two bed room flats for the urban poor and also the supply of irrigation water for all lands. None of them were fulfilled. On the other hand, the uncompleted projects of Mission Bhagiradha, Misssion Kakatiya gave huge monetary benefits to the contractors who are close to the ruling family. The family-centric amassing of wealth is no more a secret among Telangana.

The state of Telangana, which was a surplus state on its formation day, is now debtridden state. KCR borrowed money and where it went is any body’s guess but even neutral observers say that money went into unproductive areas and that is going to hit the long term interests of the State. Internal trouble is also brewing for KCR. The brooding dissidents are either shifting their allegiance to other parties or waiting for the chance to sabotage the chances of official candidates particularly those who came from other parties. They almost number 30 and loss of that many seats will certainly hit KCR morale. The prospect of dissidence in the party is a worrying point for KCR and his family. There are also stories coming out that some of his coterie members are questioning his wisdom of early election.

Seat-sharing for the Grand Alliance is the biggest problem. The Congress, if they want to come to power, has to contest at least 100 seats. But there are only 119 seats in the assembly and TDP ,TJS wants 30-40 seats together and that may not be possible. KCR may win ultimately not on his strengths but because of the weak opponents and that is what the reality is in Telangana.