Hyderabad: The impressive gains made by the BJP and the Congress in the Lok Sabha polls in Telangana have reinvigorated the parties after their dismal showing in last year's state assembly polls.
The ruling Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) party swept the December 2018 assembly polls by winning 88 of 119 seats. Many exit polls had predicted that it would also do well in the Lok Sabha polls and could win 13-16 seats.
However, the party led by Chief Minister Chandrasekhar Rao, which had set a target of winning 16 of the 17 Lok Sabha seats in the state, only managed to bag nine.
The BJP won four seats and the Congress bagged three.
The BJP, which had managed to bag only one seat in the 2014 general elections in Telangana, now plans to consolidate its position and emerge as a viable alternative to the TRS.
"This is the beginning of the BJP era in Telangana. Now, the downfall of the TRS has begun. The BJP alone can take on the TRS, that is the public mandate in Telangana," state BJP president K Laxman told PTI.
He said the entire nation's mood is in favour of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Telangana is no exception.
BJP president Amit Shah is also focusing on the party's growth in the state, he added.
Laxman said Telangana is the gateway to south India after Karnataka and the BJP has got a fertile political space in the state.
Drawing a parallel between the politics in Telangana and West Bengal, the BJP leader alleged that Rao is a "dictator" and his government had also filed cases against cadres of the saffron party.
He added that the BJP will grow in Telangana like it did in West Bengal.
Laxman also exuded confidence that the BJP will capture power in Telangana in the 2023 Lok Sabha elections with the support of Modi and Shah.
The Congress too improved its tally this year. In 2014, it had bagged two Lok Sabha seats in Telangana.
Significantly, both state Congress chief N Uttam Kumar Reddy and working president A Revanth Reddy emerged victorious.
The Congress had been facing a crisis of sorts in the state after its humiliating defeat in the assembly polls and 11 of its newly elected 19 MLAs pledging their support to the TRS.
State Congress working president Ponnam Prabhakar claimed that his could have won a few more seats in the Lok Sabha polls.
Speaking about the BJP, he said the party benefitted due to the "Modi wave" and certain comments of Rao on Hindus that allegedly hurt them.
"The Congress is definitely there. The BJP could not save its deposits in 103 seats in the assembly polls. The BJP won because of the 'Modi wave' and KCR's comments. There is no guarantee that the trend would continue (in 2023)," Prabhakar told PTI.
The BJP could not recover its deposits in 103 seats, but won four Lok Sabha seats. So, it would be stupidity to assume Congress will not win elections to be held five years later, he said.
TRS MLC Palla Rajeshwar Reddy said the ruling party lost some of the Lok Sabha seats due to "over-confidence" and the voters' preference for Modi.
The TRS lost some constituencies by slender margins, he said.
He alleged that the BJP and the Congress had an understanding in constituencies like Nizamabad to defeat the TRS.
"For example, in Nizamabad, the Congress got only 1,000 votes in Jagtial assembly segment (represented by Congress for long)... Same thing happened in Karimnagar also. The Congress surrendered in areas where they felt that the BJP was strong," Reddy told PTI.
The defeat of sitting Nizamabad MP of the TRS and daughter of the chief minister, K Kavitha, came as a shocker to the party.
Asked about the BJPs aggressive growth plans in Telangana, Palla said the TRS is "ready".
"All political parties have their own plans. We are ready to face whatever it is. We have to fight either the Congress or BJP," he said.