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KCR's Decision to Give Tickets to Sitting MLAs, a Gambit That May Decide Telangana's Electoral Fate

Perhaps KCR did not want to give the Congress much time put its house in order. Or perhaps he did not want the Lok Sabha elections to impinge on the state polls which were slated to be held in May 2019.

PV Ramana Kumar | News18

Updated:November 5, 2018, 5:37 PM IST
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KCR's Decision to Give Tickets to Sitting MLAs, a Gambit That May Decide Telangana's Electoral Fate
File photo of Telangana CM K Chandrasekhar Rao. (PTI)
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Hyderabad: The first chief minister of the newly carved out state of Telangana has run a highly centralised administration and party. So it is not really clear when K Chandrashekar Rao decided to made up his mind to call snap polls in the state.

Perhaps he did not want to give the Congress much time put its house in order. Or perhaps he did not want the Lok Sabha elections to impinge on the state polls which were slated to be held in May 2019. Or, as Congress leader S Jaipal Reddy now alleges, he wanted to have an alliance with the BJP in the general elections after securing a win in the Assembly.

Whatever may be the reason, now or even if the elections were held on schedule, TRS campaign would evolve around only one man—KCR. It was clear from day one that TRS would rely on the chief minister’s image and appeal to seek a fresh mandate.

But even the most powerful and popular leaders keep a watchful eye on local anti-incumbency against the MLAs. Narendra Modi as CM of Gujarat mastered the art.

But KCR has followed a different trajectory. More than 107 candidates in the Assembly of 119 have been announced. Tickets for only 5 sitting seats are pending. And all but 2 sitting MLAs have been renominated. That includes 20-odd ruling lawmakers who had defected to the TRS from the TDP and the Congress.

“Even party candidate is not recognised by the local people. It shows the election will be completely KCR centric,” a TRS MP told News18.

TRS candidates have already completed first two rounds of campaigning.

In the meantime, the opposition grand alliance has firmed up with Congress, TDP, CPI and other local parties joining hands to form a united front. There have been talks in Hyderabad if the CM will fine tune his strategy to take on united opposition. This may include changing some candidates. Thus far, there are no signs of that happening.

“There is no change in the candidates. As I had said earlier, tickets announced in almost all seats and B forms will be given to MLAs,” the CM recently told the media.

Bhandaru Srinivas Rao, a senior journalist and analyst, says ticket distribution is an indication that KCR is confident of pulling it off himself.

“During the days of Indira Gandhi and NTR, people used to vote for strong leaders and local candidate won’t matter much. But, the situation has changed now. Everybody thought, at least 30 candidates will be denied tickets but KCR surprised all. It shows his confidence levels. He wants to win the elections on his own image,” Rao says.

Some other analysts feel renominating sitting MLAs is a gambit which KCR has taken and may well decide the outcome of the upcoming state elections.

“If KCR’s strategy works, TRS will get about 80 seats. Otherwise party’s tally may plummet down to 30,” says Vikram Pole, a Hyderabad-based political observer.
| Edited by: Ahona Sengupta
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