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Telangana turmoil

At the time of the 2018 Assembly election, the TRS had won 88 seats.

Statesman News Service | New Delhi |

Telangana is in turmoil as K Chandrasekhar Rao, Chief Minister and founder-leader of the Telangana Rashtra Samiti, tries to establish an opposition-less State with his immediate family firmly in control. The Telugu Desam Party which dominated the political scene in composite Andhra Pradesh of which Telangana was a part, virtually gave up in Telangana when it was separated in 2014.

The last of the two TDP MLAs in the Telangana Assembly, Mecha Nageshwara Rao and Sandra Venkata Veeraiah joined the TRS a few days back, taking the party’s strength to 101 in the 119-member House. At the time of the 2018 Assembly election, the TRS had won 88 seats.  Later, 12 of the 18 Congress MLAs joined the TRS, taking its strength to 100.

Its Nagarjuna Sagar MLA Nomula Narasimhaiah passed away in December last. The Congress, ruling party of Andhra Pradesh at the time of bifurcation, had a strong base in the State and had the support of the people of Telangana for having conceded their long-standing demand for separation. It not only failed to cash in on the goodwill and support of the people, but also was unable to hold its own flock together.

The bye-election to the Nagarjuna Sagar Assembly seat is yet another opportunity for Chandrasekhar Rao to achieve his goal of ensuring an opposition-mukht Telangana. The only fly in the ointment is the growing strength of the BJP in the State. Its impressive performance in the recent Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation election is a wake-up call for the Chief Minister.

He has rolled out the red carpet for disgruntled elements in the BJP like Anjaiah Yadav and Ravi Kumar Naik to join the TRS. Notwithstanding the TRS occupying the political space vacated by the Congress and the TDP in Telangana, the BJP has been making steady, albeit slow, progress in the State. Its winning four Lok Saba seats in the 2019 election came as a surprise to Chandrasekhar Rao.

What shocked him was the defeat of his daughter K Kavitha in Nizamabad at the hands of the BJP. The BJP has already started preparing the ground to do a West Bengal in Telangana when the State goes to the polls in 2023. In the political realignment that is taking place ahead of the Assembly election, Telugu Desam leaders are joining the BJP, taking with them their swathe of the OBC social base.

The Congress has missed the boat and is unlikely to stage a comeback. The history of Telangana is marked by the armed struggle of 1946 led by the undivided Communist Party while the struggle for separation of Telangana from AP was led by secular democratic forces. Shortly before the Hyderabad municipal election, Chandrasekhar Rao issued a veiled threat to the BJP that he would organise an anti-BJP front at the national level.