BJP, Congress spring a surprise, likely to bag four seats each
The Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS), which scored a landslide victory in the recently held Assembly elections, has suffered a setback in the parliamentary polls.
The ruling party in Telangana was hopeful of securing 16 of the 17 Lok Sabha seats but the trends so far indicate that it may not cross the half-way mark of its anticipated number.
The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and the Congress, which faced a humiliating defeat in the Assembly elections held in December 2018, have sprung a surprise with both likely to bag four seats each.
The TRS anticipated a hung Parliament and entertained hopes of playing a key role in the formation of the next government. Accordingly, party president and Chief Minister K. Chandrashekar Rao also floated the concept of “Federal Front”, a so-called coalition of regional parties and lobbied for the formation of a non-BJP and non-Congress government.
However, the TRS slogan of ‘Saaru, Caru, Padaharu’ (Sir, Car and 16), which meant that Mr. KCR would play a big role in the national politics, came crashing (car is the symbol of the TRS). The BJP made good inroads into the North Telangana heartland where the TRS had won a decisive mandate in the Assembly elections.
In less than four months, the TRS has been decimated in Nizamabad, Adilabad and Karimnagar, where the BJP is putting up a stellar performance. The other seat where the BJP is sitting pretty is Secunderbad where senior leader G. Kishan Reddy is hopeful of retaining the party’s hold.
In Nizamabad the sitting TRS MP, Kalvakuntla Kavitha, daughter of Mr. Chandrasekhar Rao, is trailing behind the BJP candidate Dharmapuri Aravind by over 47,000 votes.
The Congress has also lot to cheer as TPCC president N. Uttam Kumar Reddy (Nalgonda), working president A. Revanth Reddy (Malkajgiri), Komatireddy Venkat Reddy (Bhongir) and Konda Vishveshwar Reddy (Chevella) are on a strong footing. It may not be a surprise if they are able to trounce the sitting TRS candidates.
The TRS is on its way to retain Medak, Zaheerabad, Nagarkurnool, Mahabubnagar, Warangal, Peddapalli, Mahabubabad and Khammam.
The high-pitch campaign by Mr. KCR and his son and working president K.T. Rama Rao failed to pull through in certain constituencies where it had fielded newcomers and candidates with little political acumen and experience. The party, sources said, had taken for granted that the recent Assembly victory would continue and failed to grasp that the situation was changing.
Party leaders admit that certain highly objectionable remarks by Mr. KCR against the Hindu religion did not go down well with the voters, who felt it as an affront to their self respect. His campaign centred around criticism of Prime Minister Narendra Modi. The Hindutva factor also played a role in the BJP faring well.
The BJP leadership said the image of Mr. Modi, the craze among the youth on the recent Balakot attack and the patriotic fervour created by the party worked in its favour.
The Congress on the other hand feels relieved that the seasoned leaders were able to turn the tide in their favour.
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