K Chandrasekhar Rao. Photograph:( Zee News Network )
The TRS chief has sweating it out on the electoral battleground, however, the lofty promises he made in 2014 and his failure to deliver on those promises may come back to haunt him as he seeks reelection.
Telangana caretaker chief minister and Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) chief Kalvakuntla Chandrashekar Rao stormed to power in 2014 -- albeit with a simple majority -- riding on the back of strong Telangana statehood emotion.
Four years after the bifurcation that sentiment has waned. KCR's attempt to rake up the Telangana sentiment by calling TDP an "Andhra party" and its chief "Telangana drohi" in the run-up to this election has failed to strike a chord with the voters who expected him to seek vote based on his record as chief minister of the state.
In the first part of the article, we discussed about how KCR was caught off guard by the coming together of arch rivals Congress and TDP in the state while in this part, let's look at how strong the leadership of KCR is and how several welfare schemes implemented by him such as round-the-clock power supply to households, free power to farmers, financial support schemes such as Rythu Bandhu and Rythu Bhima for farmers, KCR Kits and increased pensions for old age, widows, single women and toddy tappers, weavers would work in his favour and spur the voters to rally behind him.
The aforementioned and several other welfare schemes which covered almost each and every community and household in the state may give an edge to TRS over Congress-TDP alliance.
The TRS chief has sweating it out on the electoral battleground and has been attending four to eight meetings every day since Election Commission declared polls.
However, the lofty promises he made in 2014 and his failure to deliver on those promises may come back to haunt him as he seeks reelection.
Incomplete irrigation projects, reneging on his promise to make a Dalit the first CM of Telangana state, failure to sanction and construct 1 lakh 2BHK houses for homeless people, failure to meet the deadline of piped drinking water supply to every household through Mission Bhagiratha project, alleged corruption in thousands of crores in Mission Bhagiratha and Mission Kakatiya projects and the unviability of Kaleshwaram irrigation project in the name of redesigning are some of the things may work against KCR who also so far failed to convince the people why he dissolved the assembly six months prior to the end of his term.
The TRS chief, who a journalist friend in Telangana calls a modern Hitler, has also been often accused of nepotism and promoting ''family rule'' where five members -- KCR, his son and IT Minister KTR, daughter and Nizamabad MP Kavitha, nephew and Irrigation Minister Harish Rao and another nephew Santhosh Kumar -- called the shots.
Even Congress president Rahul Gandhi attacked KCR on ''family rule'' by saying that the TRS Government is working for realising the dreams of one person by trampling on the rights of all other people on land, waters and other resources.
While KCR poured crores on sops but failed to create jobs for the unemployed youth, says another journalist friend from the state. KCR also did not induct any woman legislator into his cabinet.
In the ongoing campaign, TRS MLAs are questioned by people on their failure to deliver on promises made in 2014. According to the vox populi, lions' share of the electorate is not happy with the TRS rule, especially in rural Telangana.
KCR also failed on his 12 per cent reservation to the Muslims.
Strong believer of numerology and superstitions, KCR also ignored families of true statehood martyrs and soldiers. Brazen dereliction on the part of KCR on building the memorials to honour the martyrs and statehood fighters as he promised during the last polls has angered several people in the state.
Several strong leaders from TRS including the sitting MLAs like BC leader Konda Sureka, SC leader Bodige Shobha who were denied the tickets, defected to the Congress. There is a potential splitting of the pro-TRS vote bank by rebels and dissidents who sought tickets but were denied. There is also a strong anti-incumbency wave among farmers due to forceful land acquisition.
A win in his own constituency, Gajwel, may not be a cakewalk for the TRS chief who won the seat in 2014 from Vanteru Pratap Reddy of the Telugu Desam Party (TDP), who has since joined the Congress, by about 20,000 votes.
(This is the second part of the three-part analysis on Telangana election. The final part will be published on December 12)
(Disclaimer: The opinions expressed above are the personal views of the author and do not reflect the views of ZMCL)