KCR win stamps his claim as the undisputed leader of Telangana
Telangana has voted and decisively in favour of K Chandrashekar Rao of Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) for the second term in office. The results haven’t come as a surprise despite the last-minute challenge mounted by the Chandrababu Naidu-led TDP and Congress alliance – the Mahakutami.
The final results:
Total Seats: 119
|Party||Seats||Number of Votes||Vote Share|
|Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS)||88||9,700,749||46.9%|
|Indian National Congress (INC)||19||5,883,111||28.4%|
|All India Council of the Union of Muslims (AIMIM)||7||561,089||2.7%|
|Telugu Desam Party (TDP)||2||7,25,845||3.5%|
|Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)||1||14,50,456||7.0%|
|All India Forward Bloc||1||172,304||0.8%|
KCR is all set to be sworn in as the next Chief Minister of the state and he faces challenges of living up to people’s expectations over the next five years with no assurance of who will be in power in New Delhi from 2019 onwards.
The dramatic results in Telangana have implications for political equations going forward, and KCR will have to walk very carefully in the run-up to the general elections next year.
The Mahakutami has failed to live up to its promise in Telangana, and this has had its fallout. The most impacted are former CM of undivided Andhra Pradesh Chandrababu Naidu and his party the TDP. He decided to align himself with the Congress to build a united opposition against the BJP in the centre. In present-day A.P., he remains a strong leader, and a good performance in Telangana would have placed him in a strong position to negotiate with various regional satraps. TDP managed just 2 seats, a far cry for a party leader who once was all-powerful in Hyderabad.
With the Rahul Gandhi-led Congress coming into power in M.P., Chhattisgarh, and Rajasthan, the Congress has emerged as the single largest party around which the regional parties will have to rally if they continue to nurse ambitions of unseating the BJP from New Delhi. Chandrababu will continue to be useful but is considerably weakened in the power equation post these results.
The BJP, too, has got singed in the state but on closer look, hasn’t done too badly. Its 1 seat not reflecting the goodwill on the ground. The party garnered 7.0% vote share winning 14.5 lakh votes against the Hyderabad-centric AIMIM, which managed to get just 2.7% vote share – 5.6 lakh votes. True, BJP has wider goodwill across the state while, AIMIM’s vote bank lies mostly in Hyderabad, where it won 7 seats. The Congress with 19 seats remains the closest threat to TRS, and so expect both the Congress and the BJP to try and nibble away TRS’s vote share across the state in coming time.
What worked for TRS?
BJP can take a lesson from KCR who spotted the farmer segment as his most crucial vote bank. Chandrababu Naidu missed this during his first term in office, and the BJP has missed it across India. The farmers of Telangana have been traditionally distressed due to poor irrigation infrastructure and erratic monsoons. KCR saw this and launched two very popular schemes focused on addressing the farmer’s problem:
Rythu Bandhu – Farmer’s Investment Support Scheme (FISS)
Under FISS, 58.33 lakh farmers received Rs 4,000 per acre for two crops in a year – Kharif and Rabi. Each farmer received Rs 8,000 subsidy per year per acre, without any restriction on the acres held by each farmer. The payment made directly into the farmer’s account, thereby cutting out any leakages from the system. The scheme has been very popular and earned KCR a lot of goodwill. Other states are planning to replicate the model. Rs 12,000 crore has been allocated in the FY18-19 budget. In an election year, it is a masterstroke and gone in KCR’s favour.
It is a Farmers Group Life Insurance Scheme where each registered farmer is insured for Rs 5 lakh against loss of life. The state government pays the entire premium to LIC of India, which in turn, ensures the compensation gets credited to the farmer’s account within ten days.
Both the Rythu schemes have won KCR a lot of goodwill in the state.
The other popular welfare scheme targeted pregnant women.
The KCR Kit comprises useful items for pregnant women in the ore and post-delivery stages along with financial incentives totalling Rs 12,000 per person. The KCR Kit has won a lot of support from women in general who view KCR as someone who cares for the needy. Again, this has translated into votes, especially in rural Telangana.
KCR has managed to catch the pulse of the people more than other parties, and now he will be viewed more seriously as an influencer in national politics if not a direct player.
Will the BJP reach out to bring TRS into the NDA?
KCR has been trying to negotiate with the BJP government in Delhi for favourable assistance and investment for Telangana. The BJP has already offered to support the TRS if it gave up its ally, the AIMIM. KCR realizes he needs to keep his home base strong before reaching out at the national level and so, chose to remain with AIMIM.
It opens up a remote possibility of TRS extending support to BJP from the outside, in exchange for assistance to the state and the BJP going easy on AIMIM chief Owaisi. However, after BJP’s rout from the Hindi heartland, KCR will tread carefully before reaching out to either the BJP or the Mahagathbandhan. For now, it will be Telangana first, and a patient wait for events to unfold in the run-up to the general elections. KCR remains a wily politician.
Map of Telangana Vidhan Sabha Constituencies