People's Front turns out Congress' undoing in Telangana

People's Front turns out Congress' undoing in Telangana

Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) workers celebrate their party's victory in the states Assembly elections, at Telangana Bhavan in Hyderabad, on Tuesday. PTI

Congress' trump card for winning Telangana Assembly elections — the People's Front (Praja Kutami) — appeared to be its undoing, as TRS led by Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao romped home to victory.

Congress leaders in Delhi believe that the aggressive campaigning by Andhra Pradesh leaders, including Chief Minister and TDP supremo N Chandrababu Naidu was a key factor in the defeat of the party in Telangana, a state the grand old party created.

“The campaigning by Andhra leaders damaged our prospects. The alliance was fine, but Andhra leaders should have stayed away from the campaign,” a senior leader from Andhra Pradesh said here.

Also, the failure of the Congress to put up candidates from the Kamma community, which has about 12 lakh voters in Telangana, also contributed to the party's defeat.

“We could have sent our message through M Kondandaram Reddy, the leader of the Telangana Jana Samithi, our alliance partner in the state,” the Congress leader said.

KCR led the TRS to victory by virtually repeating its 2014 tally by winning 86 seats in the 119-member Assembly. In 2014, the TRS had won 63 seats and increased its tally to 90 after a number of TDP and Congress leaders joined the party. The Congress maintained its tally by winning 21 seats, the same number it had won in 2014.

Rao had advanced the Assembly elections by almost eight months by dissolving the Assembly in September catching the Opposition unawares.

The Congress got its act together and entered into an alliance with one-time arch-rival TDP, TJS, and CPI to form the Praja Kutami.