From strong to sticky wicket: Why retaining power in Telangana won't be a cakewalk for KCR

Written By: Judy Franko
Delhi, India Published: Nov 27, 2018, 03:10 PM(IST)

Telangana Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao. Photograph:( Zee News Network )

Story highlights

TRS supremo could not offer a reasonable explanation why he dissolved the assembly. KCR sounded the poll bugle on a strong wicket but his confidence has waned and his nervousness has come to the fore of late. 

Call it hubris or overconfidence, Telangana caretaker chief minister and Telangana Rashtra Samithi chief Kalvakuntla Chandrashekar Rao pulled no punches when he dissolved the state Legislative Assembly on September 6 and set the stage for polls in the state carved out of erstwhile Andhra Pradesh on June 2, 2014. 

On the day he dissolved the assembly, KCR, as he is fondly called, declared 105 candidates in the same breath, taking the Opposition leaders by surprise. 

From the time KCR dissolved the assembly to now, it appears that the wheel of fortune has turned. KCR's display of chest-thumping triumphalism of winning 100-plus seats in a 119-member House has been replaced by rousing Telangana pride and invoking celestial blessings.

Two months ago political observers were declaring KCR’s return to power a foregone conclusion, but now with coming together of Opposition parties — Congress, Telugu Desam Party, Telangana Jana Samithi and the Communist Party of India — to form Mahakutumi (grand alliance), looks like this election is after all not a cakewalk for the ruling TRS. 

KCR expected the Election Commission to hold the polls in a month after he dissolved the assembly but the three-month time between the dissolution of the assembly and the polls, have helped the Opposition to gets its act together and put up a united face against the ruling party.  

TRS supremo could not offer a reasonable explanation why he dissolved the assembly. KCR sounded the poll bugle on a strong wicket but his confidence has waned and his nervousness has come to the fore of late. 

In his first phase of campaigning, KCR tried to ambush the Mahakutami headed by the Congress party by showing the TDP in a bad light by saying things like TDP was the main obstacle in Telangana State formation and is a bad omen to the Telangana people and tried to instil Telangana sentiment among the people. 

KCR's attempt gaslight the public by portraying TDP as bad omen did not work. 

While KCR’s braggadocio of winning 100 or more in the Assembly’s 119 seats continues, but his impressive oratory in Telugu and Urdu fails to hide the nervous gloom.

A few days back, the remarks made by the TRS chief and his son KT Rama Rao did nothing to repair the damage and created some sort of confusion among the party cadres. KCR said, “If TRS loses the battle, there will be no loss to me. I will do nothing but take rest at my farmhouse only.” 

“I will leave the country if we lose these polls,'' said his son KTR, who is a minister in the KCR cabinet.  

At the recently held Medchal public rally attended by allies of Mahakutami, Congress president Rahul Gandhi and UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi Sonia lambasted the TRS government. 

Sonia, who was hailed as “Mother of Telangana”, said, "TRS government, after coming to the power, squarely failed to meet the primary demands of statehood movement such as irrigation water, funds and recruitments." Sonia cornered KCR calling his government ''family affair'' while the Congress spokesperson Randeep Singh Surjewala went a step ahead calling the ruling party 'TRS-KCR private limited.' 

The visit by Sonia Gandhi to the state has definitely breathed new life into the four-party grand alliance. Now, will that translate into votes? We will have the answer on December 11 when the counting will take place.  

(This is the first part of the three-part analysis on Telangana election. In the next part, which will be published on December 4, we will discuss the strengths and weaknesses of Mahakutami and TRS. )

(Disclaimer: The opinions expressed above are the personal views of the author and do not reflect the views of ZMCL)

Judy Franko

Judy Franko is a Digital Journalist at WION. He believes that the best way to learn is to be under the impression that you are a novice, always.
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