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New Delhi: On September 6, just after the dissolution of the assembly, chief minister of Telangana K. Chandrashekar Rao (KCR) declared that his party will win 100 seats in the upcoming elections. Trends so far suggest that he might not have been able to achieve what he claimed, but it is clear his party is the biggest beneficiary of the current election. According to available trends, the Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) is likely to win nearly 90 seats, leaving only 21 seats for the grand alliance and rest eight for others, including the AIMIM and BJP.
It can be recalled that in the last election (2014), the TRS had won 63, Congress 21 and TDP 15 seats. However, later several TDP and Congress MLAs crossed over to the ruling TRS. At the time of the assembly’s dissolution, the TRS had 90 seats, Congress 13 and TDP 2 out of the 119. In other words, if the current trends continue the TRS will be able to have as many MLAs as they had at the time of dissolution of the assembly.
One possible reason for KCR coming back to the power with a clear majority is that there is no one of his stature in the opposition camp. In 2014, he became the first CM of the state, riding on the separate sate movement wave and his own charisma. While the Telangana sentiment was not as visible this time around, his charisma is still intact.
Telangana Pradesh Congress Committee president and prospective CM candidate of the grand alliance, N. Uttam Kumar Reddy is not popular. Another Congress person who is popular among the people of the state and could have challenged KCR is Revanth Reddy, who is very new entrant to the party and is trailing in his own constituency. One more person who could have challenged KCR was M. Kodandaram of Telangana Jana Samithi (TJS), but he is not contesting the election. Moreover, his party is a very small player of the alliance.
Moreover, the Mahakutami (the grand alliance of Congress, TDP, CPI and TJS) was unable to transfer their votes to each other. Notably, in the last assembly elections, the parties in the alliance got more than 40% of the votes (Congress (25.2)+ TDP (14.7)+ CPI). The TRS (34.3%) and its ally AIMIM (3.8%) got less than 40% of the votes. That too at the peak of Telangana movement, when there was no anti-incumbency against the TRS.
Another reason of TRS’s landslide victory is that anti-incumbency did not work against it, despite people complaining about KCR not fulfilling his promises about jobs and two-bed room housing. The TRS had promised to implement several welfare schemes in the state, including better irrigation facilities, tapped water connections to every house, support to farmers and two-bedroom houses.
While most of these were implemented, they were not completed before the assembly was dissolved. The voters seem to have thought that giving another term to the TRS would ensure that they are fully implemented.
It also looks like Muslim voters have favoured TRS over the grand alliance. It can be also understood from the fact that Congress MLC, and the Muslim face of the party, Mohammed Ali Shabbir is trailing from Kamareddy seat. Sitting MLA (TRS) Gampa Govardhan is leading from this seat. The Muslim vote play a crucial role as Muslims constitute 12.7% of the total population in the state. The community is in a position to play a decisive role to play on nearly 30 seats out of 119. The importance of Muslim votes also became evident from how both TRS as well as the grand alliance (Congress, TDP and others) tried their best to woo Muslim voters.