BJP and Congress under TRS shadow

(Sudhansu R Das)

The pre-election roar of the opposition political parties has become a shrill cry after TRS swept the Assembly poll with 88 seats out of total 119.  All India Majlis-E-Ittehadul Muslim (AIMIM)’s alliance with TRS has helped it win seven out of eight assembly seats it contested. TRS now aims to win 16 out of 17 Lok Sabha seats. The TRS supremo, K Chandrasekhar Rao has promised a series of sops: hike in financial assistance to 57 lakh farmers under Rythu Bandhu Scheme, doubling the pension for senior citizens, reduce the old age limit for pension from 60 to 57 years, second crop loan waiver up to one lakh, construction of two bed room houses for the poor and quota for Muslims along with continuation of a dozen of ongoing development schemes.  The TRS seems confident of smooth sailing. The opposition parties are still nursing their wounds after the assembly election and are clueless to stop KCR’s victory march.

The BJP after so much noise, road shows and mega public rallies could win only one assembly seat and lost deposits in 104 Assembly constituencies. The party finds it difficult to contest even 10 Lok Sabha seats out of 17.  The BJP’s route attributes to its alliance with Telugu Desam Party in 2014 election, GST, de-monetization, lack of charismatic leader in the state. Political analysts believe the opposition leaders could not articulate issues like farmer suicides, student suicides, unemployment, malnutrition, increase in road accidents, waterless life, growing financial frauds, increasing per head debt burden, poor education standard, poor health facility, serious environment degradation, smuggling out of forest products, theft of precious idols from religious places and rampant butchering of tigers. 

The lone BJP leader, Raja Singh was elected to the assembly by dint of his organising skill.  He could organise the Hanuman Jayanti and Ramnavami festivals in a grand manner. The other leaders are not so much rooted with community like Raja Singh. BJP is not in a position to make the cost and benefit analysis of the expensive mega projects and tell people whether it’s good or bad for the state.  The central Ministers from Telangana do not contribute much to the growth of BJP in the state.

BJP in spite of its strong volunteer base is not in a position to become the voice of the farmers and the vast unorganised sector.  The congress almost behaves in the same manner like BJP and put the blames on TDP for its defeat in the Assembly election. Many senior congress leaders feel their alliance with TDP will be a gamble as the memory of decades long painful struggle for the creation of Telangana is still fresh in the minds of people. 

Good news for Congress is that Rahul wave has already begun to blow after its victory in Hindi heart land. The Congress has a strong organisation set up in the Telangana which can be activated if Rahul wave gathers strength in the next few weeks. More than two dozen leaders from other political parties had joined TRS in the past five years. Congress expects Rahul wind to blow them back to their fold before the Lok Sabha election. But it seems too late to happen. 

A straight fight between Congress and TRS may shape up as Congress tries to rally around a strong unified command. Congress high command will soon decide the leader from the two equally influential state leaders: N Uttam Kumar Reddy and Mallu Bhatti Vikramarka as the contenders’ list has narrowed down after the drubbing in the assembly election. TRS chief, K Chandrasekhar Rao knows very well that the Lok Sabha election is a different ball game and both BJP and Congress have tall leaders who can bowl reverse swing.  

BJP has already announced many farmers’ friendly schemes which they propagate as better than loan waivers. In the circumstances, TRS does not want to leave any stone unturned. The party is all out to woo YSR congress and other regional outfits to build a non-congress and non-BJP alliance. The main aim is to win a few MP seats in Andhra Pradesh which will increase the state’s bargaining power.

Both Telangana and Andhra Pradesh have 42 MP seats, quite a substantial number which BJP will never want to ignore. But all depends on the capacity, strategy, enthusiasm and leadership skill of the BJP leaders in the state and the centre. The other regional parties in Telangana will remain with TRS or with any centrist party for survival.  As centrist parties will always try to redouble their effort to win maximum Lok Sabha seats, it would not be a cakewalk for K Chandrasekhar Rao in the coming Lok Sabha Poll. Whatever may the outcome of the election, the voters have to cough up more taxes to fill the empty exchequer for the next election.

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