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Shock Congress and Surprise Voters: Why KCR is Pinning His Hopes on Early Assembly Polls

According to political analysts in Hyderabad, KCR is trying to play safe by planning to advance the elections even if the alliance fares badly in the Lok Sabha polls, at least his base will be safe in the state.

D P Satish | News18dp_satish

Updated:September 2, 2018, 8:39 AM IST
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Hyderabad: The ruling Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) led by Chief Minister K Chandrashekar Rao is organising a mammoth public rally of over 25 lakh people in Hyderabad on Sunday.

The CM, popularly known as KCR, is expected to sound the poll bugle in the day. Even though the Telangana Assembly term expires with the term of Lok Sabha in May 2019, there are strong rumours of him advancing the Assembly elections to November or December to tie in with elections in MP, Chhattisgarh, Rajasthan and Mizoram.

The TRS government looks formidable on the ground and KCR is still the most popular and powerful leader in the state.

The creator of Telangana state KCR rode to power in 2014 on his popularity. He has also tried to endear himself to the masses through various pro-people schemes in the last 50 months.

But all is not well in the state. A shrewd politician KCR has sensed that even with all the pro-people work and deft handling of political crises, the voters may change their mind at the last minute and he wants to surprise them by advancing the elections.

Second, the BJP is reportedly keen on a pre-poll alliance with KCR for the Lok Sabha polls and he is not in a position to turn down their request.

KCR is aware of the problems he is likely to face if he goes to both Assembly and Lok Sabha elections in alliance with the BJP. And he thinks that safeguarding his state interests by advancing the Assembly polls is the best possible option before him.

Telangana has about 13% Muslim votes and 2% Christian votes. Majority of them had backed the TRS in the 2014 elections and even in the subsequent bypolls. If TRS aligns with the BJP, these two vote banks may desert him en masse in favour of the opposition Congress dealing a huge blow to the ruling party.

According to political analysts in Hyderabad, KCR is trying to play safe by planning to advance the elections even if the alliance fares badly in the Lok Sabha polls, at least his base will be safe in the state.

“Our leader and chief minister KCR may advance the Assembly elections. He will not align with the BJP in Assembly polls. Nothing is decided about going with the BJP in the Lok Sabha election next year. A decision will be made only after the Assembly elections,” said a senior TRS leader.

Congress, the main opposition, is gaining ground in rural areas and the state Congress president N Uttam Kumar Reddy is preparing the ground for a powerful assault on TRS.

Reddy, a four-time MLA and a former minister, is a retired fighter pilot. Proving all his detractors and sceptics wrong, Reddy has sent out a message that he can fight well both in the skies and also on the ground, claim state Congress leaders.

The powerful Reddy caste which has backed KCR in the past seems to have decided to throw its weight behind their leader Uttam Kumar Reddy in the forthcoming elections. The SC/STs are also returning to the Congress fold, claims a local leader. With minorities, Reddys, SC/ST and a chunk of OBC votes, the Congress can really make the job tough for the TRS.

KCR wants to shock the Congress by advancing elections which may disrupt its revival plans, giving an edge to the TRS.

An extremely clever politician KCR has unwittingly made the state politics bi-polar by decimating all other parties, including the TDP and the YSRCP in the last four years. It has created a vacuum and the cadre of the TDP and he YSRCP may go with the Congress in the coming elections.

The Left parties, like the CPM and the CPI which have a marginal presence in the state, will most likely align with the Congress. It makes the Congress a strong force and Hyderabad MP Asaduddin Owaisi’s MIM, which is strong in the state capital, may play the role of a kingmaker if the results are hung in 119 member state Assembly.

“In 2014 KCR won because the anti-TRS votes got badly divided among the Congress, the TDP, the YSRCP, the BJP, the Left parties, etc. Now except the Congress, he has decimated all others by engineering defections thinking that there will be no opposition to him in future. But the cadres have not shifted to the TRS. Now there is a direct fight between KCR and the Congress in the state. If these cadres go with the Congress, it would be really difficult for him. KCR has made the Telangana politics bi-polar unwittingly.

“Either it will help him or it will work against him,” said a veteran politician and former Andhra Pradesh home minister MV Mysura Reddy.

Who will have the last laugh? Only time will tell.

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