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KCR political gambit prepones Telangana elections

Saturday, September 08, 2018
By Prakash Bal Joshi

The ruling Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) which captured power in the state in its maiden assembly elections, in May 2014, has decided to dissolve the state legislative assembly and seek fresh mandate from people of Telangana. The assembly’s term ends next year.

It is considered as a political gambit by the Telangana Chief Minister, K Chandrasekhar Rao, who has dissolved the state assembly and now continues as a caretaker chief minister. Normally, people punish leaders or parties which go in for midterm poll by preponing the properly elected assemblies on political consideration. The thinking behind such phenomenon is the fact that people have given five-year mandate to rule and the leaders have no authority to ignore this mandate and go in for a mid-term poll.

The idea behind early dissolution of house in Telangana is desire by Chandrasekhar Rao to hold simultaneous elections along with the scheduled Lok Sabha elections in year 2019.

Guv approves assembly dissolution
Chandrasekhar Rao called on the state governor ESL Narasimhan with the recommendation to dissolve the 119-member state legislative assembly in which his party has 63 members.   Governor ESL Narasimhan has approved the assembly dissolution.  

The KCR move has generated mixed reactions among political parties in Telangana as well as in Delhi where every move is now calibrated and scrutinised with keeping 2019 general elections for Lok Sabha. The Telangana Congress has criticised the move saying that it was taken under pressure from Prime Minister Narendra Modi. The party points out that before taking a decision to dissolve Telangana state legislative assembly, KCR had called on Prime Minister Modi and Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh. However, Telangana Congress Chief Uttam Kumar Reddy observed, “Telangana people are happy that they have got rid of a despotic and autocratic rule. Congress party will sweep the polls.” It is easier said than winning the state which is just beginning to adjust to the fact that there are now two states created out of division of Andhra Pradesh.

This is measured decision by Chandrasekhar Rao which he had been thinking for quite long time since election results were declared in Karnataka. In the first week of August, he had created ripples by holding a massive rally where he was supposed to announce his decision to go in for an early poll in the state. However, no such decision was announced but generated lot of heat and dust over possibility of dissolution of the state legislative assembly. With the decision to dissolve the assembly, it is up to the election commission to decide when to hold the elections for the state legislative assembly, will it be held along with the four other states going to poll in December or will be held along with the Lok Sabha elections since there is six-month time to hold the elections after dissolution.

The main question is whether Chandrasekhar Rao will have a tie up with the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) or what kind of politics he will be playing vis-a-vis national fronts for the coming Lok Sabha elections. Will he join the NDA or will he join the Congress-led or any other anti-BJP party led front? Or will he keep his cards close to his chest to fight the elections on his own and then decide about post poll alliance? So far, he has not opened his cards but in due course he will have to take sides or keep his friends and foes guessing about his real motives.

Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu, who was part of the BJP-led NDA, has already walked out of the front on the issue of special status to Andhra Pradesh and the union government’s reluctance to do so due to its own political compulsions. The Telugu Desam Party is all set to hold a meeting soon to decide on its poll strategy for coming general elections and also take stock of the situation following KCR’s decision to dissolve the state assembly in Telangana. The TDP will also have to decide whether to form an alliance with the Congress in Telangana. As per TDP General Secretary, E Peddi Reddy, Chandrababu Naidu will also consult Telangana leaders in Hyderabad along with the Congress and other Left Parties to take a decision on Telangana developments. Chandrababu Naidu wants to play a kingmaker’s role in Telangana by forging front against KCR and his party.

Telangana Chief Minister, Chandrasekhar Rao, has also began moving in to counter moves by Naidu. He has   criticised Rahul Gandhi describing him as the “biggest buffoon” in the country.  He said that more Rahul Gandhi takes interest in Telangana politics, it will become easier for him to return to power with solid majority. A man who inherited “Congress Delhi sultanate” could not understand state politics. Interestingly, these remarks were made by Chandrasekhar Rao after the assembly was dissolved.

Rao outlines major political thrust
Chandrasekhar Rao has outlined the major thrust of his political line. He wants his party to be like one in Tamil Nadu where no national party is allowed to take roots and local parties and leaderships decide fate of the state. He wants Telangana politics to shape on the lines of Tamil Nadu. As a result, he may not be openly joining the NDA and fight separately and later decide his course of action. He has already prepared for the state assembly elections, announced many social welfare schemes to benefit women and children and also finalised probable candidates. Through his Mission Bhagiratha he wants to provide drinking water to every household in the state.  The party is planning to win 100 out of 119 seats in the state.

He is confident that he will not be facing any anti-incumbency factor due to the performance of his government which has initiated many schemes to create feel good atmosphere in the state. His calculation is that if state and Lok Sabha elections are held simultaneously, then regional issues will be side tracked and it will prove detrimental to his party which is harping on regional pride of Telangana.  His calculation is that with the dissolution of state assembly elections now, the state assembly elections can be held along with Mizoram, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh legislatures due in December 2018.

Though the party had won 63 seats in 2014, his strength increased up to 90 seats as many from the Congress and the TDP crossed over to his party. Most of the sitting candidates will be fighting the coming elections except a few. The Congress is claiming that there is some kind of understanding between Chandrasekhar Rao and PM Narendra Modi. Chandrasekhar Rao will support the BJP in Lok Sabha, if it gets comfortable majority in the state assembly elections and continue holding control in the state. Its going to be an interesting fight in Telangana over winning the state legislative assembly elections in coming days.

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