Cross-voting, symbols cost dearly for TRS

While the electorate in the State overwhelmingly voted for the TRS in the Assembly elections, giving the party a whopping 88 of the 119 seats, there seems to have been a slight shift in voters’ perception when it comes to the Lok Sabha polls.

By Author  |  Published: 24th May 2019  1:26 am

Hyderabad: The Telangana Rashtra Samithi, which won nine of the 17 Lok Sabha seats in the State, yielded some ground to the BJP and the Congress in the Parliament elections after decimating the two national parties in the State Assembly elections in the December 2018 polls.

While the electorate in the State overwhelmingly voted for the TRS in the Assembly elections, giving the party a whopping 88 of the 119 seats, there seems to have been a slight shift in voters’ perception when it comes to the Lok Sabha polls.

There was complete clarity among the people that there was no alternative to K Chandrashekhar Rao to lead the State. However, in the Parliament elections, they chose to give the ruling party in the State nine seats, two less than the 11 TRS won in 2014. The BJP improved its 2014 tally of just one seat to four now while the Congress won from three Lok Sabha constituencies.

The shock defeats for the TRS were those of K Kavitha in Nizamabad and B Vinod Kumar in Karimnagar, and this was due to various factors including cross-voting by the Congress for BJP candidates. More importantly, the presence of 178 red gram farmers in the electoral fray in Nizamabad who filed nominations to “draw attention to their plight” proved to be a thorn in the flesh for the ruling party.

Dharmapuri Aravind of the BJP defeated Kavitha by a margin of 70,383 votes in Nizamabad, but the total votes polled by the farmers, close to a lakh, was a deciding factor in swinging the tide in favour of the BJP candidate. Kavitha, contesting for a second term, was expected to retain the seat comfortably but the Congress and some other parties, it is alleged, propped up the farmers to bring down the sitting MP.

The Congress, it is learnt, wanted to stop the strong TRS candidates from winning the Nizamabad and Karimnagar at any cost, and asked its cadres to vote for the BJP to achieve its objective. In a couple of other constituencies, the symbol continued to haunt the TRS as in the case of Bhongir Parliament seat where Boora Narasaiah Goud lost by a narrow margin of 4,000-odd votes to Congress’ Komatireddy Venkat Reddy.

Shockingly, an independent, a stranger to the constituency at that, and allotted the road-roller symbol walked away with as many as 27,000-odd votes. One look at the car symbol and the road-roller on the EVMs is enough to convince anybody of the striking similarity between the two symbols.

What comes as a complete surprise, though, is that the BJP, which lost deposits in 103 constituencies in the 2018 Assembly elections, could win four Lok Sabha seats. The Congress too had come to a cropper in the Assembly election winning just 19 seats and is on the verge of losing main opposition status with 11 party MLAs expressing their desire to join the TRS in the past five months.

The TRS, in the words of party working president KT Rama Rao, has won a majority of the seats, but it will go into the reasons for the defeat in seven Lok Sabha constituencies considering its Assembly poll performance.