Will BRS score hattrick in the wake of Congress scale?


(Shankar Raj, Bengaluru)

The big question mark over Telangana in the 2024 Assembly election is whether the K Chandrasekhar Rao-led Bharat Rashtra Samithi (BRS formerly known as TRS) will score a hattrick by capturing power for the third time or will the Congress bowl a googly and recapture the southern state that was once its fiefdom.

The scales seem to be tipped in favour of the Congress, especially after it captured neighbouring Karnataka and due to the strong anti-incumbency factor.

Telangana Congress president A Revanth Reddy is confident. The countdown for the BRS government to go out has begun, he said, adding that if voted to power, the party will be on implementation of the six guarantees promised by Sonia Gandhi.

Revanth said when Sonia Gandhi announced six guarantees, KCR got a fever. “It’s time KCR took a permanent rest. Actually, he need not come out of the farmhouse as people of Telangana have already decided who should win the ensuing election,” he said.

It was on the five poll promises on which the Congress stormed to power in Karnataka, ousting the BJP and denting Narendra Modi’s popularity among voters.

“Telangana will be liberated from corrupt and negative forces on November 30, a day when people of the state will give their verdict. December is a miracle month for the believers and a miracle is going to happen. It was on December 9, 2009, that statehood to Telangana was announced and later delivered. Likewise, on December 9, 2023, the new government (if Congress is voted to power), will sign on implementation of six guarantees,” Revanth said.

But BRS leaders argue that there was no anti-incumbency as they have implemented the majority of the poll promises for the poor. BRS working president and son of Chandrasekhar Rao, KT Rama Rao has also asserted that his father will repeat the feat for the third time.

The BRS has stolen a march over the Congress by announcing the candidates for the Assembly polls on August 21 — much ahead of the announcement of the polling dates by the Election Commission. Many candidates have finished multiple rounds of campaigning in their respective constituencies.

Over the past three weeks, BRS candidates, particularly the incumbent MLAs, have made progress in selecting beneficiaries for initiatives like the Dalit Bandhu, Gruha Lakshmi and financial assistance to BCs and minorities.

The first round of meetings with influential leaders in villages and towns has concluded. The plans for a second round is set after October 15 as KCR will address all the candidates on that day, providing guidance on campaign strategies and emphasising key election promises and issues to highlight.

So far, barring a possible Congress-Left alliance, there is no major tie-up like the ‘mahakutami’ in 2018 when the Congress, TDP, CPI and TJS had joined hands hoping to consolidate anti-BRS votes (then TRS). While that plan came unstuck at the hustings, every major party is hoping to be a beneficiary of anti-incumbency vote after two consecutive terms of BRS. (Author is a senior journalist and political comentator)


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