Telangana assembly elections 2018: Can KCR take on Congress-TDP math?

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE HINDUSTAN TIMES OF INDIA)

 

Telangana assembly elections 2018: Can KCR take on Congress-TDP math?

With over 28 million eligible voters, Telangana will go to the polls on Friday.

INDIA Updated: Dec 07, 2018 07:22 IST

HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, Hyderabad
Telangana,Telangana assembly elections 2018,Telangana Polls
Kalvakuntla Chandrashekar Rao(HT Photo)

With over 28 million eligible voters, Telangana will go to the polls on Friday. It has a complex polity — the incumbent Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS), the Maha Kootami led by the Congress, which includes the Telugu Desam Party, Communist Party of India, and the Telangana Jana Samiti, and two other important forces, the All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (AIMIM) and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).

Here are the six variables likely to shape the outcome of the elections .


KCR
: This election revolves around the personality of caretaker chief minister K Chandrasekhar Rao (KCR). He led the political movement for Telangana and was rewarded for it in 2014. Since then, two things have happened. One, he has consolidated political power in himself and his family; become distant from the electorate; and is seen to have amassed wealth. Two, he has launched a slew of tremendously popular and innovative welfare schemes, ranging from monetary farm assistance to promises of housing. He is also seen to have provided electricity. Which version of KCR prevails for voters will matter.


The electoral arithmetic
: The Maha Kootami has an electoral advantage if you go by sheer numbers . If the TRS had 34% vote share in 2014, the Congress and TDP combined vote share is 38%. In many constituencies, the votes of both parties exceed that of the TRS. Will older TDP loyalists vote for Congress and will Congress supporters transfer their votes to TDP or other allies? Will arithmetic prevail or will voter choices change?


The Muslim vote
: Muslims constitute 12% of the population. They exercise influence in close to two dozen constituencies. In the Muslim-dominated pockets of Hyderabad, the AIMIM, or Majlis as it is called, is popular and it has decided to back the TRS. So any win for the Majlis boosts the TRS, especially if it is a hung assembly. But outside Hyderabad, the mood is mixed. While a section of Muslims cheer KCR’s schemes like Shaadi Mubarak (allowances for women for weddings), there is a substantial section that criticises him for not delivering on the promise of 12% reservation for the minority community. They also have loyalties to Congress and believe party president Rahul Gandhi’s assertion that the TRS has a deal with the BJP.

Click here for live updates on Telangana assembly election 2018


Subnationalism
: Telangana is India’s newest state. It has come into being after a long struggle against Andhra Pradesh. The emotive factor has now subsided. But the TDP’s active participation in the politics of the state changes things. Telangana has a big ‘settler’ population, those originally from Andhra. Will they back the TDP? Or will they follow the lead of other Andhra parties like the YSR Congress party which have decided to stay neutral and, in effect, back the TRS? More critically, the TRS has now used the TDP’s presence to allege outsider interference and claim there is a conspiracy by Andhra Pradesh to regain control of Telangana. Will this put off the locals?


Jobs or welfare:
 The Congress has made a sharp campaign pitch against the TRS for not creating jobs. It has promised over 100,000 jobs in a year; it has also committed to over ₹3000 as unemployment allowance. The TRS rebuts the claims and points to its governance record on welfare. Across constituencies, among younger people in particular, the desire for jobs, particularly government jobs, and the belief that the government has not delivered on this aspect is deep. How much will it hurt the incumbent?


Local anti-incumbency:
 The biggest challenge for the TRS is the fact that its local legislators appear to be unpopular. It had 63 seats in the 2014 polls but managed to engineer enough defections to increase its strength to 90. Most of the former MLAs are re-contesting. Will this local anti incumbency hurt the TRS or will KCR’s personality eventually offset this resentment?

In sum, the election is about governance, identities and subnationalism. It’s about personalities. It’s about local and micro factors. Voters today will determine what matters to them most.

First Published: Dec 07, 2018 07:08 IST

Telangana assembly elections 2018: Sonia Gandhi vows to teach TRS a ‘fitting lesson’

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF INDIA’S HINDUSTAN TIMES)

 

Telangana assembly elections 2018: An emotional Sonia Gandhi vows to teach TRS a ‘fitting lesson’

Telangana assembly elections 2018: Sonia Gandhi said she had to undergo a lot of difficulties while taking a decision on granting statehood to Telangana. She reminded the people that the Congress had to pay a heavy price for its decision to grant Telangana state.

TELANGANA ELECTIONS Updated: Nov 24, 2018 09:12 IST

Srinivasa Rao Apparasu
Srinivasa Rao Apparasu
Hindustan Times, Hyderabad
sonia gandhi,sonia gandhi rally telangana,Telangana Election 2018
UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi also sought to reach out to the people of Andhra Pradesh who were angry over bifurcation of the state.(HT Photo)

UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi, who visited Telanagana for the first time on Friday, called upon the people of the county’s newest state to teach a fitting lesson to Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) for completely shattering their hopes and aspirations in the four-and-a- half years of its rule.

Addressing a rally at Medchal on the outskirts of Hyderabad, she said, “It is an emotional moment for me, as I feel like a mother who is meeting her children after several years,” amidst loud cheers from the public.

Gandhi said she had to undergo a lot of difficulties while taking a decision on granting statehood to Telangana. “It was no easy decision, as I had to keep in mind the sentiments and feelings of people from both Andhra and Telangana regions. But, having witnessed the agitations of the people of Telangana and understood their aspirations, I had decided to carve out Telangana state, thanks to the support extended by all my colleagues, including then Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh and Rahul Gandhi,” she said.

She reminded the people that the Congress had to pay a heavy price for its decision to grant Telangana state. “Politically, it was a big loss for the party. Yet, we had taken the decision in the larger interests of the people of Telangana,” she said.

Read more: Vote share of parties in 2014 elections

The UPA chairperson also sought to reach out the people of Andhra who were angry over the bifurcation of the state. “While passing the bifurcation bill in Parliament, we had promised to take care of all the interests of Andhra Pradesh, including granting of special category status. We are still committed to this promise and once the Congress comes back to power at the Centre, we shall grant special category status to Andhra Pradesh,” she asserted.

Gandhi said she was very much pained to see the plight of the Telangana, even after four and a half years of the formation of new state. “Every mother wants her children to grow stronger and have a bright future. But I am able to see how you are still struggling with lack of development even after four years. The dreams you had when the Telangana state became a reality were totally shattered. The issues – water supply to parched lands, allocation of funds to every sector and filling up of jobs to eradicate unemployment – remained unfulfilled,” she alleged.

Read more: Win map of Telangana in 2014

Also alleging that farmers’ suicides were on the rise in the last four years, she also accused the TRS government of setting aside the central land acquisition act, 2013, brought in by then UPA government to forcibly acquired their lands. Meanwhile, the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme was completely ignored, unemployed youth became desperate and self-help group women had become helpless, she added.

“When I used to visit other states in the past, I used to proudly mention about the welfare schemes being implemented in Andhra Pradesh. Now, there is no such opportunity. Every section – SC, ST and other backward classes are totally frustrated. While students and unemployed youth are agitating, only one family (of Telangana chief minister K Chandrasekhar Rao) is happy,” she said.

Gandhi said the time had come for the people to show their anger at the TRS government. “This is the excellent opportunity for you to come out of all your troubles and lay the path for the progress of the state for a better future of the people. Understand the power of the vote and teach the TRS government a fitting lesson by voting for the Congress and its allies,” she said.

For full coverage, click here

In his brief address, Congress president Rahul Gandhi said the time had come for the people to show their gratitude towards Sonia Gandhi who was responsible for achieving statehood to Telangana. “She is very much concerned about the new state and the welfare of the people of all sections. She stood with you and understood your struggle for a separate state,” he said.

He said the Congress had joined hands with other like-minded opposition parties to form an alliance to fulfill the dreams of all sections of people including farmers, students, youth and women. “We must end the dictatorship and single family rule in the state,” he asserted.

Leaders of parties in the Congress-led grand alliance – M Kodandaram of Telangana Jana Samithi, Telugu Desam Party’s Telangana president L Ramana, Communist Party of India state secretary Chada Venkat Reddy – as well as state Congress chief N Uttam Kumar Reddy, also addressed the rally.

First Published: Nov 23, 2018 20:25 IST