True to his prediction, K Chandrasekhar Rao, popularly known as KCR, led his Telangana Rashtra Samithi to a landslide victory in the first ever election in the youngest state of the country, handing out a humiliating defeat to the Congress-TDP led Praja Kutami and reducing BJP to a single seat.
The TRS won 88 seats while its friendly party MIM won 7 seats. Congress and TDP were, however, reduced to 21 and BJP won only one seat. Tomorrow, the TRS legislators will meet at the party headquarters to choose their leader, although it is a mere formality.
The defeat was a humiliating one for Praja Kutami leaders with two of its component parties CPI and Telangana Jana Samithi failing to win any seats, N Chandrababu Naidu’s TDP won just two and most of the prominent Congress leaders lost their seats to political greenhorns from TRS.
Additionally, the alliance failed to import the caste politics that is prevalent in Andhra Pradesh at this side of the border as the coming together of Kammas who traditionally support TDP and the Reddys who support Congress simply did not happen at the level of electorate.
Though a lot of political analyst attributed the victory of TRS to KCR’s appeal to sub nationalism in Telangana opposing the interference of Mr Naidu in its politics his welfare schemes which had something or the other for all sections of the society including women, farmers, minorities, SC, STs and backward castes also contributed to the landslide victory.
Praja Kutami leaders, however, immediately cried foul. Even before counting ended N Uttam Kumar Reddy, TPCC chief demanded counting of VVPAT paper trails.“Going by the distorted trends there is a strong suspicion that EVM machines have been manipulated. We demand that 100 per cent counting of VVPAT paper trails must be taken up in all constituencies,” he stated. Congress immediately put forward the request to CEO.
Another constituent, CPI’s leader S Sudhakar Reddy said: “The distribution of money and liquor among voters, particularly on the last day led to this result. This was not a moral victory but technical victory of TRS.”
During the campaign, right from Prime minister Narendra Modi to Congress president Rahul Gandhi had criticised Mr Rao for promoting his own family but it did not have any impact on the voters. KCR himself won from Gajwel by 51514 votes. His daughter and Nizamabad MP K Kavitha Rao who tirelessly campaigned in her area ensured TRS won 8 of the 9 seats. His son and incumbent IT minister KT Rama Rao who campaigned in greater Hyderabad area won his Sircilla seat for the third time by 89,009 votes. And nephew Harish Rao who was KCR’s campaign manager won Siddipet seat for the sixth consecutive time and increased his lead to more than one lakh votes which is again a new record.Their detractors attempt to create a spilt in the family by project Harish Rao as a dissident did not pay dividend.
Attributing his victory to Mr Rao and the people, Mr Harish Rao pointed out: “There is no BJP or Congress in Telangana, only KCR.”
Firebrand Congress leader, DK Aruna lost in Gadwal and PCC chief’s wife in Kodad. Incidentally Mr Gandhi had campaigned in both areas. At the same time a few TRS heavyweight leaders and minister also had to bite the dust. Three ministers and the Speaker of the dissolved Assembly lost and the TRS chief took responsibility for their losses. “It is because of our internal mistakes three of my Cabinet colleagues and the Speaker lost.” BJP which had brought in Prime Minister Mr Narendra Modi, party president Mr Amit Shah and several chief ministers including Yogi Adityanath managed to win only one seat – Goshamahal in the city. Its two time MLA G Kisan Reddy lost in Amberpet so did K Laxman, state BJP president. MIM held on to its 7 seats and the friendly fight with TRS helped it to split votes.
The TRS supremo was quick to tell his cadre to ensure “humility” so that they do not get carried away by absolute majority. TRS actually replicated its success in the civic polls in Hyderabad city prompting KT Rama Rao to tweet, “Grateful, indebted and humbled,” – a wise thought indeed in the face of such a huge mandate.