(M P Rabindernath)
Telangana Rashtra Samiti, which rode to power on T-sentiment in 2014 general elections, appears determined to deceive those who stood by them.
In fact, the TRS boasts itself as ‘vudyama” (revolutionary) party which got the separate statehood for Telangana.
Now, the same TRS is seeking the support of the same Seemandhras to win the upcoming GHMC elections by hook or crook, which exposes the ‘dual stand’ of the party leadership.
If one is to believe news reports, in a in a bid to somehow win maximum number of seats in the 150-strong divisions of Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation, it has chosen to field Seemandhra candidates in many of those areas where Andhra settlers are predominant.
In fact, in the last GHMC polls that held in 2009, the TRS chose not to contest, fearing the T-sentiment has no bearing on urban votes.
As a result, the Congress, riding high on sympathy wave following Dr Y S Rajasekhara Reddy’s death in a chopper crash, emerged as the single largest party with 50-odd seats. While the TDP could bag 45, MIM won 43 and the BJP just five.
Though, the TRS rode to power in 2014 elections, soon after the state bifurcation, it was reluctant to hold elections to Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation.
Having gained power, the TRS has managed to engineer defections from the TDP and Congress and establish foothold in the GHMC areas. Yet, the fear of losing the polls has forced the party leadership to keep on postponing the dates, till the High Court gave directions to hold elections, first before January 31 and later extended to February 8.
Although the TRS party’s chief campaigner and Minister for Panchayatraj and IT KT Rama Rao, boasts to win 100 out of 150 divisions, based on some internal surveys, the TRS appears scared at the prospects of gaining even 50 seats, as “Andhra settlers” are majority in 40-50 constituencies.
As a party in power, it is pulling out all the tricks from its bag, including poaching of winnable candidates, irrespective of their party affiliation by luring them with tons of money. Yet, the party leadership were unable to overcome the ‘Andhra settlers” factor and hence it chose to field ‘one among the settler’ in these predominant divisions of GHMC.
By doing so, it has given a go by to its earlier strong stances against Seemandhra, whom it described as ‘exploiters’ and ‘looters.’
Where is the ‘self-rule’ that the TRS president and Chief Minister K Chandrasekhara Rao promised during the agitation days for separate statehood? By opting Settlers as party nominees in the GHMC polls, does KCR accept that Telangana leaders are inferior to Seemandhras? Is he dubbing his own brothers of the region as incompetent and inefficient to fight an election? Where is the guarantee that they would not cross over other parties after the polls?
To many political analysts, the TRS claim to win 100 GHMC divisions appear a far cry.
With Tollywood actress Jayasudha quitting Congress to join the TDP, will it change the political scenario. In the 2009 polls, the TDP which won 45 is now contesting 87 seats leaving the rest to its ally BJP. The TDP-BJP combine have won two of three Lok Sabha seats – Secunderabad and Malkajgiri – in the 2014 general elections, besides 14 assembly seats. The alliance is confident to retain its 2009 strength in the GHMC – TDP (45) and BJP (5) – if not add another 10-15 seats as the Congress appears on a weak wicket.
Sources close to TDP leadership claim that their internal surveys clearly indicate that the TRS chances of winning only in erstwhile Congress won divisions and their tally may not cross 30-40.
Meanwhile, senior BJP leaders feel that even if the TDP-BJP combine win more than 60 seats, one should not be surprised. Reasons they cite for such confidence is that urban voters never ever care for ‘regional sentiments’.
“The urban voters always chose to be more concern over larger issues than giving credence to regional chauvinism,” a BJP leader said and added; “Most of the urban funds come from the Centre and voters are well aware of this fact as they wanted better transport systems like Metro rail or expressways.”
Surely, the urban voter is wise. Just look at the civic issues which should be the basis on which the local vote should exercise his vote. The roads are bad; sanitation is worse; the mosquito and stray dog menace continues unabated; and drinking water scarcity continues. Even power cuts continue. And, the traffic jams is another big issue.
With the latest over politicization of UoH Dalit students suicide, the outcome of GHMC elections are any ones guess. The key question to face is “will the suicide issue polarize voters on caste basis?” If so, how will it alter election results?