As the Telangana election date is getting closer, social media has become more active than conventional print and visual media. A report attributed to poll strategist Prashant Kishore of IPac sounded dooms day for the ruling Bharat Rashtra Samiti (BRS) with a screaming headline, “Car speed sealed at 24” (Car is the ruling BRS official symbol), which went viral. Whereas several pollsters, including C-Voter, which gave a clear edge to the Congress of crossing the magic figure – 60+ in the 119-strong state assembly – are now cagey about their projections. In other words, almost all surveys are now projecting a possible hung or fractured verdict by the state electorate. This is despite no strong anti-incumbency visible on the ground.
However, the last week report of the Medigadda barrage sinking near the three pillars, might have given some discomfort to the BRS, but the party seems to have managed it by taking necessary initiatives. Interestingly, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and Congress were expected to pounce on the ruling party. They, however, merely condemned and claimed their apprehensions had come true. Both the BJP and Congress were accusing KCR and his family of milking the irrigation project by enhancing it alarmingly from Rs 40 lakh crore to Rs100 lakh crore. The Dam Safety Committee of the Centre visited the project site and found the reasons for sinking of the pillars due to the use of substandard construction materials as well as the poor soil conditions.
The ruling party’s failure to distribute pensions to former government employees, especially of the Sports Authority of Telangana State, and pay the outsourcing workforce and Dalit Bandhu beneficiaries, seems to have led the electorate to show dissent if the pollsters’ projections are any indication. On the other hand, though the Congress was jubilant initially, it too appears not all that confident of winning the requisite numbers. The reasons are internal bickering and the likelihood of those who did not get ticket working against the party’s interests. The electorate too appears redrawing their strategy, after reading reports of the Congress government’s miserable failure to implement the promised guarantees in neighbouring Karnataka where it got a massive mandate.
Meanwhile, the BJP which lost its vigour after the change in its state unit leadership now seems to be picking up steam with the party declaring that it would make a backward class (BC) candidate chief minister if voted to power. This was endorsed by its all-powerful Union Home Minister Amit Shah while addressing an election rally in Suryapet the other day. In other words, the party has dropped enough hints that it would be the former state president and MP Bandi Sanjay, whom it has fielded from the Karimnagar assembly constituency. Another indication of the high command clearing the way for Bandi Sanjay, if news reports are to be believed, is by way of pulling back the state president and Union Minister G Kishen Reddy from the contest. The party had also withdrawn its national BC cell convener and former MLA K Lakshman from the fray. Against that backdrop, the BJP emerges as a strong contender, although it too may not get closer to the magic figure unless some miracle happens in the next week or so.
I wish to put my neck out to say that none of the parties are going to get an absolute majority. In such a scenario, if the BRS and BJP manage to get more than 60 seats together they may form an unholy alliance as in the case of Jammu and Kashmir in the past with Mehbooba Mufti’s People’s Democratic Party. If one has to believe Prashant Kishore who was quoted the a report, if the BRS gets disintegrated after losing power, then it is anyone’s guess with which whom the BRS opts to join hands and share power. All this is if Congress gets closer to 40-45 seats, which in my view is unlikely.