Dr. Duggaraju Srinivasa Rao
The people of Telangana gave a verdict shattering the party and the leaders who fought and got the separate state after almost ten years of the statehood. Why KCR tasted rejection is the hands of his own people is something which is a classical lesson for all those arrogant and family centric leaders irrespective of the party they are in. The message is whatever may be the past role of yours the contribution in the present and the delivering of the promises made is important. Voters are more intelligent than the leaders think and they can’t be fooled all the time with sentimental dialogues and play with the sensibilities of the minds. Too much of play with sentiment will result in defeat both for the party and the leader is the clear message for BRS and KCR. BRS lost 49 seats and got restricted to 39 seats while KCR lost in one out of two constituencies he has contested.
KCR’s strongest weapon the anti-Andhra people diatribe got neutralized with the tactical withdrawal by Chandrababu Naidu and his TDP from the Telangana state elections. KCR’s plank of water share to Telangana from the Krishna and Godavari rivers got dented with the sinking of piers in the prestigious Kaleswaram lift irrigation project about his government was boasting all these years. The National Dam Safety Authority conclusion that the sinking of piers in the project was caused by the combination of factors including planning, design, quality control, operation and maintenance. This project was initially estimated to cost 38,000 crores was increased to 1.2 Lakh crores by KCR administration. With the confirmed damage to the Dam and its unstable position to hold the water in the reservoir means that the project has to be dismantled and reconstructed thus losing all the 1 lakh crore rupees. The Telangana was a surplus budget state on the day of formation in 2014. As KCR resigns following the adverse verdict from the CM post in 2023 the state of Telangana has debt burden of 5 Lakh crores. Where does this borrowed money gone in the question the opponents were posing and people believed that it went into the coffers of the KCR family and friends. There are so many allegations of corruption on the family members of the KCR family, including his daughter Kavita who is a suspected partner in the Delhi liquor scam. The arrogance of KCR has no bounds and that made him to lose touch with the people. His megalomaniac behavior of not visiting the secretariat and running the administration from his out of city farm house received the flak from everyone but power drunk KCR refused to change. KCR’s over reliance on his friend Asaduddin Owaisi of MIM party and his anti-Hindu speeches in the public made the large section of Hindu voters to believe that KCR is in the mold of autocratic Nizam rather than a democrat leader. In the end of near ten year rule the negatives overshadowed than his positives in the development of state. His national ambitions to project himself as the challenger to Modi is now deflated by his own Telangana voters.
While KCR was busy in dismantling the Congress structure in the state it was BJP which was campaigning against KCR and exposing his corruption in the state. The BJP, in Telangana, since 2020 was perceived as the real challenger to the BRS. The then party president Bandi Sanjay could reach the people of Telangana through the slang of the state and successfully rebutting BRS in the same language of KCR. But the post Karnataka election loss the BJP got jittery and their main goal shifted from dethroning KCR to preventing Congress from coming to power. The BJP Delhi bosses strategy to tone down anti-KCR stand and going soft on KCR’s daughter Kavita, the suspect in the Delhi liquor scam sent a wrong message to the people of Telangana and those voters who already determined to defeat KCR saw the Congress as the best bet to beat the BRS. The BJP momentum died on the very day Bandi Sanjay was removed from the party post and Kishan Reddy, a not so efficient leader, was anointed as party state chief. The slide from that day is so fast and from the party sure to win the BJP ended with 8 seats in the recent elections.
The Congress cashed on the BJP’s backward steps and filled the role of aggressor through PCC chief Revanth Reddy, who is all set to be the next CM of Telangana. The Congress party which saw a chance to win, for a change, forgot all the internal differences and fought unitedly. The voters waiting for a suitable instrument to beat KCR found the one in Congress and held it firmly. The backward steps of BJP costed them heavily with its all the top leaders biting the dust. BJP which was hoping a hung assembly with about 20 seats for it, thus getting a chance to play a role of king maker lay now shattered with the consolation of doubling the vote share since 2018 and increasing its number of seats from 1 in 2018 to 8 in 2023.
Post formation of government by Congress in Telangana the political scenario start unfolding in a multi-dimensional way. KCR, now faced with a formidable Revantha Reddy in CM chair and Congress calling for revenge on KCR for his past backstabbing politics and his daughter Kavita under threat of arrest may have to fight back or run for shelter to NDA. But KCR’s past speeches peppered with personal epitaphs against the duo Modi and Shah will be a hindrance. Those two leaders are not the type to forget, forgive and move forward politicians. Moreover BJP is known to follow the principle of kill the regional parties and make the Congress as main opponent as that will suit their fight mode. The death of BRS will give scope for the BJP to fill the space of main opposition. On the other hand both BJP and BRS may wait for the familiar Congress script of internal dissension blossoming in Telangna and plan the collapse of government. The Congress on the other hand may try to get back those leaders who joined BRS after 2014 and now won the election into the Congress fold to further strengthen its government. The Hyderabad city people are worried about the possible communal flare ups once the Congress start administering the state as the track record is such for Congress. 2024 is going to be exciting in many ways for the state of Telangana with all the main players, Congress, BJP and BRS, opening their political cards to hit each other. In the Congress attempt of consolidation and opponents attempt of destabilizing politics many exciting scenes are awaiting for Telangana.