Hyderabad: The TRS led by Chief Minister K Chandrashekhar Rao steamrolled the opposition to capture the Telangana State Legislative Assembly for a second consecutive term with close to three-fourths majority.
Proving all exit polls wrong, barring the India Today survey, Chandrashekar Rao led the ruling party’s demolition squad single-handedly to decimate the Congress-led Prajakutami, winning 88 of the 119 Assembly seats in the State Assembly. The four-party Prajakutami was left completely mauled with the Congress managing to get 21 seats, while the Telugu Desam Party was reduced to one.
The unprecedented mandate is a reflection of the people’s overwhelming support for a development and welfare-oriented government as opposed to the destructive politics of the opposition, mainly the Congress and the TDP. The two parties had consistently sought to derail the development process in Telangana State through scores of court cases and letters to the Union government to stall irrigation projects.
Leading the pack of winners, Chandrashekhar Rao raced to a 58,290-vote margin victory over his nearest Congress rival V Pratap Reddy from Gajwel Assembly constituency. Other TRS candidates who registered massive wins include Ministers K T Rama Rao (Sircilla), T Harish Rao (Siddipet) and Etela Rajender (Huzurabad).
Among the prominent Congress leaders who had to bite the dust were leader of the opposition in the last Assembly, K Jana Reddy, working president and rabble-rouser A Revanth Reddy, former TPCC president Ponnala Laxmaiah, senior leader Komatireddy Venkat Reddy, former minister D K Aruna and Shabbir Ali. From the ruling party, Ministers Jupalli Krishna Rao, Thummala Nageshwara Rao, P Mahender Reddy besides Speaker S Madhusudhana Chary failed to retain their seats.
Significantly, the vote share of the ruling TRS vastly improved from 34.3 in the 2014 election to almost 50 per cent now. The Congress vote share marginally improved its vote share from 25.2 in 2104 to 28.7 now. The TDP support base stands comprehensively eroded, nosediving from 14.7 in 2014 to 3.1 in the current election.
Star campaigners flop
Interestingly, the star campaigners of the opposition, including Prime Minister Narendra Modi, BJP president Amit Shah, UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi and Congress president Rahul Gandhi failed to make any impression on the Telangana electorate. In fact, the TRS did exceedingly well in the districts where these stalwarts campaigned extensively in the three weeks prior to polling.
“It is the people’s victory, and we accept it with all humility. With the huge mandate comes greater responsibility to deliver on our promises,” Chief Minister K Chandrashekhar Rao said on Tuesday.
After bludgeoning the opposition in the home turf, Chandrashekhar Rao, who was addressing the media at Telangana Bhavan after the TRS’ resounding victory in the State, made no bones about his diving deep into national politics.
“There will be a new national party in the country very soon, a consortium of regional parties. It will not be an attempt at uniting political parties. We are going to unite the polity of India, and the people of the country,” he said, adding that the massive TRS victory was an endorsement of the innovative policies and programmes it had launched during its four-and-half year rule.
The Chief Minister, pointing out that there were 15 crore farmers in the country who were in distress, said there was a need for a new economic model for the nation. “The TRS has shown the way to tackle the agrarian crisis through its initiatives, and these have been appreciated by scientists like Dr M S Swaminathan,” he said.