KCR’s poll calculations may not work

Telangana Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao’s decision to recommend dissolution of the state assembly and to go in for fresh elections was not entirely unexpected. In the last few weeks, the chief minister had given indications that he might do so. There are about nine months to go for the term of the assembly to expire. The chief minister thinks that there is no serious anti-incumbency sentiment in the state now. The government had recently unleashed a major advertisement campaign highlighting its achievements. The Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) has held a major rally on the outskirts of Hyderabad, apparently setting off its election campaign. These were indications of the government’s electoral plans. The TRS leadership also thinks that the opposition in the state is not yet ready to face the elections. The Congress is the main opposition party, but the BJP, the Telugu Desam and others are also in the fray. 

The TRS would also have wanted to avoid contesting assembly elections along with the Lok Sabha elections next year. Since the Lok Sabha elections are to be held early next year, there was a chance of the assembly elections being held along with them. But simultaneous elections would have worked to the disadvantage of the regional party, with the national parties and their leaders dominating the campaign. State issues might get overshadowed by national themes. While the TRS has a good relationship with the Centre, it may not want to join the NDA. Neither can it be a part of any opposition alliance in which the Congress is a partner. Chandrasekhar Rao’s bid to form a non-BJP, non-Congress federal front at the national level has apparently failed. So, the best option for him is to have the elections held with a focus on the state and its issues, and that is what he has gone in for. Rao hopes that the performance of his government and the welfare measures it has implemented would help it to return to power. That may not mean that the TRS will not have any seat adjustments or understanding with other parties for the assembly elections. The fact that it has not announced its candidates for all seats may be an indication of that. 

The TRS wants the elections to be held before the end of the year, along with elections to the state assemblies in Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh. Elections need to be held within six months, but it is for the Election Commission to decide when they are to be held. So, there is no certainty that they will be held according to Rao’s calculations. Will his gambit pay off?

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KCR’s poll calculations may not work

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