Can a Congress–TDP Led United Opposition Make Things Difficult for KCR in Telangana?
The Congress and the TDP strategists think that Congress 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.
File photo of TRS chief K Chandrashekar Rao. (Twitter)
Hyderabad: After chief minister K Chandrashekar Rao dissolved the Assembly declaring early elections in Telangana, all eyes are on the Congress and the TDP.
The ruling TRS, and the voters, are curious about what these two opposition parties might do to take on the might of KCR’s party in the elections likely to be held by the end of this year.
In 2014, KCR rode to power on separate Telangana state plank by defeating the Congress which actually created the state and the TDP which maintained neutrality.
KCR, the “hero” of Telangana, is now facing new challenges. In the last four years and four months he has delivered on many of his poll promises and tried to project himself as the sole guardian of Telangana people.
In his press meet after the dissolution of the Assembly, he directed the attack towards the Congress and its president Rahul Gandhi calling him the biggest buffoon in India. His close aides claim that KCR knows that his only rival in this election is the Congress. Because in the last four years he has systematically decimated two other opposition parties – the TDP and the YSRCP, thus making the state politics bipolar.
According to political analysts, either it will help the TRS to sweep the state or a straight fight may backfire. The Congress and the TDP, one time arch-rivals, are planning to mount a joint attack on the TRS, say analysts.
Rahul Gandhi and TDP chief N Chandrababu Naidu came face to face at the swearing in of Karnataka chief minister H D Kumaraswamy in Bengaluru last May. And they seem to have realised that coming together in both Andhra Pradesh and Telangana helps them to beat the YSRCP and the TRS respectively.
After the creation of Telangana, the Congress has been wiped off from the map of AP and has less than 5% vote share in its once citadel. Even though the Congress travelled that extra mile to create a new state losing entire AP, the extremely clever KCR outsmarted them in Telangana in 2014.
The Congress, with its depleted war chest, has begun the talks with the TDP. According to local Congress leaders, several rounds of secret talks have taken place with the TDP, Telangana Joint Action Committee (TJAC) chairman Professor Kodandaram’s newly founded Telangana Jana Samithi (TJS), the CPI, the CPM, the BSP and the Bahujan Left Front (BLF) to defeat the TRS under one banner.
They feel that a united opposition led by the Congress under its president N Uttam Kumar Reddy may make the elections tough for KCR.
In 2014, the TRS won 63 seats in the 119-member state Assembly. The Congress won 21, the TDP 15, the BSP 2 and the Left parties 2 seats respectively. Together they won 40 seats. Thirteen of the TDP MLAs defected to the other side in the last four years. The Congress too lost about half a dozen MLAs to the TRS. But both the Congress and the TDP maintain that the party vote bank is intact and they will again vote for them.
“It was multi-corner fight in 2014 that helped KCR to win. The opposition vote got divided among half a dozen parties. If they come together, they can really put up a big fight. For both the Congress and the TDP, it is a question of survival. They might come together,” said Dr M V Mysura Reddy, former AP home minister and a veteran of united AP politics.
The Congress and the TDP strategists think that 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.
While KCR is the only leader of the ruling TRS, the opposition parties have an array of leaders – both local and national.
Both the Congress and the TDP also want to take revenge on KCR for two different reasons. The TRS saw a revolt against Chandrababu Naidu by his own party man KCR in 2000 which finally divided the state into two. And the Congress which created Telangana, hoping that KCR would be with them, felt betrayed and eager to turn the tables on him.
In spite of all these, KCR may very well stage a comeback. Because he is still the most popular and powerful leader in Telangana. And the “united” opposition does not seem to have the wherewithal and strategy to take the 'Pink Party'.
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