KCR likely to opt for early polls; Telangana may vote with Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Chattisgarh

Hyderabad: The Chief Minister of Telangana, K Chandrasekhar Rao, will shortly recommend an early dissolution of the Assembly and opt for fresh elections in the state, along with the states of Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Chattisgarh later this year, sources close to the decision have indicated.

Rao, sources close to the inner circles of the Telangana Rashtra Samithi, say, had discussed this with Prime Minister Narendra Modi during their recent meeting. Reiterating his consistent support for the idea of One Nation, One Polls, Rao had shown his inclination to wait for elections in the state along with the general elections provided they are completed before end of February 2019.

As per the sources, Modi, while thanking the chief minister for the support for One Nation, One Polls had expressed his unwillingness to alter the schedule of the Lok Sabha elections, post which the TRS chief indicated to Modi that he would like to have elections in his state along with three BJP ruled states slated to go to polls later this year.

File image of chief minister of Telangana K Chandrashekhar Rao. Twitter/@TelanganaCMO

File image of Chief Minister of Telangana K Chandrashekhar Rao. Twitter@TelanganaCMO

There are three broad reasons for the decision of the Telangana chief minister for seeking earlier elections in his state.

Muslim vote

Despite having constantly expressed his support for simultaneous elections, KCR is not keen to get trapped in the binary and polarised narrative set by Narendra Modi and Rahul Gandhi. Since his own reading is that the campaign would be highly polarised, TRS, which has All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (AIMIM) as an alliance partner in the existing state government, would not like to lose their current support amongst the Muslims in the state.

The Telangana government of TRS, in which the Asaduddin Owaisi-led AIMIM is an ally, has a high support of the minority community but a Congress-led campaign that KCR will join the Modi-led NDA after 2019 elections is denting that support.

"There is little doubt in the minds of the Muslims of Telangana, and the AIMIM, that the TRS led by KCR is a B-team of Modi. Their undeclared partnership, like the secret pact of Stalin and Hitler, is a barter where BJP supports the TRS in the State, and in exchange, TRS supports the BJP at the Centre,” said Nalamada Uttam Kumar Reddy, president, Telangana Pradesh Congress Committee.

"KCR wants to go for early elections so that his pink turned saffron hues are not visible to all people," he adds.

Rythu Bandhu

The State of Telangana since its formation, and earlier as a region when it was part of the combined Andhra Pradesh state, has been one of the top three zones of extreme agrarian distress. Since coming to power, KCR has tried to transform the eco-system for agriculture, with irrigation schemes, drinking water schemes, distribution of sheep, loan waiver and the pioneering Rythu Bandhu, where the state sanctioned Rs 4,000 per acre to every farmer as an investment to reduce agri loans burden.

The scheme, a resounding success, had compelled rival Congress to up the ante and declare a loan waiver of up to Rs 2 lakh per farmer.

KCR wants to go for elections while the farmers are in good mood, hoping a good rainfall and a promise of the next instalment after coming to power giving him a huge rural fill-up.

"Our chief minister does not want election after the summer. Come what may, our outer limit was February; and since the Centre is not willing to have general elections even a day before the term is completed, we will go for an October-November schedule, with the three BJP-ruled states,” a senior TRS leader said.

Opposition unity

The third major factor that KCR is counting on in going for a surprise election announcement after the Independence Day celebration is to encash on the lack of preparedness of the Congress and its marked disunity amongst its leaders as opposed to an election-ready TRS.

Dismissing all talks of Congress not being prepared, Reddy, said, “The Congress party is fully prepared for next elections, whenever they are held. When we launched Praja Chaitanya Bus Yatra in February this year, the first message I gave to my party cadre was to gear up for early polls. There are clear indications that Assembly elections might be held in November or December this year. The KCR government has failed on all fronts. The anti-incumbency is rising with each passing day. TRS MLAs are unable to enter villages in many constituencies because they did not fulfil electoral promises. People have realised they have been cheated by KCR who lured them with tall promises.”

Personal challenge

Such is the mood of the Congress, which is now waiting for its national president, Rahul Gandhi, to tour Telangana and its possible victory, that Reddy has stopped shaving his beard for months now.

"I will shave only after the TRS is defeated and Congress comes to power," said Reddy. "Congress is all set to win election at any time from now. Different surveys conducted by various agencies have predicted a clear victory for Congress in Telangana. We will win at least 75 seats if the election is held today.”

Countering his boast, KT Rama Rao, the charismatic son of KCR and Minister for IT and Urban Development, said, “I will quit from public life if TRS loses this election.”

The Congress is hoping the angst amongst the Dalits and students who were promised one job in every family, and two bedroom houses for all, among others, will help its chances. An early election is likely to end internal bickering in Congress and strengthen Reddy.

"Senior Congress leaders who were putting their entire focus and efforts on reaching out to the high command to replace Reddy will now make peace because as PCC president he will have a crucial say in the allotment of tickets," says Mohan Guruswamy, a senior political analyst.

“It would be misplaced to think the election is foregone conclusion in favour of the TRS. If the Congress ties-up with Telugu Desam, which still has a huge OBC following and cadre across most districts, they can stun KCR,” he informs.

Will KTR retire, or Uttam shave, or will the people of Telangana get an answer in 2018? Or, would they have to wait for longer till 2019? ItT will soon be out.

The writer is author of the bestselling novel, Autobiography of a Mad Nation, long-listed for the MAN Asian Literary prize, and The Spiritual Supermarket. His next novel, One Farmer Less, will be out next.

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Updated Date: Aug 12, 2018 12:51:42 IST

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