Telangana : Let us hope KCR knows what he is doing

So it happened. After his massive rally, KCR finally decided to confirm the speculation, bite the bullet and dissolve the Telangana Assembly at an “auspicious” time on Sept 6. He followed it up with a fierce attack on the Congress Party, describing their top clown as a … well, clown.

Good sign. At the very least a sign that TRS is definitely seeing itself as a possible post poll ally for NDA.

I remember that a while ago I was very ambivalent about early dissolution of Telangana Assembly. I have an aversion to such risky moves and tend to believe that these can piss off the public. I am still not sure why KCR was in such a hurry to dissolve the Assembly if he thinks he has a clear lead over the opposition Congress. Then, what was he running away from?

However, sources that I usually trust … and from all other accounts, it seems that TRS does have a healthy, even unassailable lead of more than 15% vote share over Congress. As the election campaign unfolds, if it looks like TRS is losing steam, there is always scope for the BJP to bail them out with a last moment prepoll alliance.

It is also noteworthy that KCR has already announced 105 candidates out of the 119 available seats. I am interested in the remaining 14 seats. Did he leave those for BJP? I don’t know. Perhaps people more familiar with Telangana can elaborate in the comments here. We have to understand which seats these are and what is the TRS strength level in them.

Are these low quality seats that TRS has left for BJP? My guess would be yes.

From what I understand there are two main features of the ticket distribution by TRS in Telangana. One is very few Muslim candidates. Is this some kind of tactical encouragement to MIM to corner the M vote completely, taking it away from Congress?

The second feature is that just 2 sitting MLAs have been denied tickets so far by TRS. Here I would say that KCR’s overconfidence is very very troubling. Even the most popular leaders like Modi in Gujarat denied tickets to lots and lots of sitting MLAs as a stepping stone to success. Local anti-incumbency is the “silent killer” in Indian politics. It affects both the ruling party and the opposition.

Do you know that even during Modi’s wavelike victory in 2002 in Gujarat, there were over 10 BJP ministers who lost in their own seats? I’m trying to remember the exact number but my memory fails me. I think it was 16 to be exact.

You know how Raman Singh won Chhattisgarh in 2013? He capitalized on the Congress renominating nearly all their sitting MLAs. While Congress was busy on the front foot, he took the bails off from behind their back.

NEVER underestimate local anti-incumbency. Cardinal rule of politics. KCR has broken this one.

So what are the chances KCR could lose this gamble? He should make it across the finishing line in my opinion, but only just. As I said above, if things get too close for comfort, BJP will obviously jump in at the last moment to bail him out. With a guaranteed vote share of about 10%, the BJP alliance should see him through.

So what does this mean for the Lok Sabha election. Irrespective of the margin in the Assembly, a victory for TRS will probably mean a sweep in the General Election. If he gets 15-16 seats in Telangana, it’s a big loss for Congress. Most of my readers know that I am not very optimistic about 2019, least of all about an outright majority for BJP. For me, it is very important that Congress should be kept in double digits … under 125 in a worst case scenario. If Congress gets a 0 or thereabout in Telangana, breaking 120 will become very hard for them. In such a scenario, Congress will have to offer the PM post to an ally … resulting in a disaster of a Central Govt that will last 2 years (max) and then go back to the electorate who will be waiting with rotten eggs and rotten tomatoes to throw at them.

Overall, I feel more positive about the whole situation in Telangana than I did a week ago. Congress is facing a wall there and at this moment that is the most important concern for me.

On a side note, can somebody here tell me how an Owaisi like figure can keep winning a big metro like Hyderabad? The city of Hyderabad is one of India’s best, full of entrepreneurial spirit, startups and deeply plugged into the cyberverse. How is this medieval character winning from there? From Telugu friends I had in college, I understand that this has something to do with the so called “Old City,” a ‘peaceful’ enclave within Hyderabad where the Razakar party has its impregnable fortress. Can someone comment on the chances of this person winning again in 2019?

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10 thoughts on “Telangana : Let us hope KCR knows what he is doing

  1. Ha ha, this is the one post which is close to the hearts of Prof Vidyasagar ! I will be waiting for his comments, not one but at least 3-5 in all.

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  2. By getting the constituencies reorganized in their favor. Every political party tries to do that, but MIM has been very successful.

    MIM used its political clout to get the constituencies reorganized in its favor, the last of such reorgs done may be 10 years ago, during the congress rule. The goal was simple – how to garner maximum seats with their existing voters.

    They got their existing seats split into multiple seats (thereby creating new or more seats), by adding to each of them few new colonies and towns where they do not hold their sway, while making sure they retain the majority vote share in that constituency.

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  3. Yeah the old city area in Hyderabad is a fiefdom if Owaisi. There are about 12 seats but in a couple of those seAts BJP used to have good percentage of votes for them due to local leadership. I am not sure whether BJP Still has some hold there now. In any case Owaisi influence is like muted to old city area only.

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  4. When I visit my brothers in Hyd they dont allow me to go shopping in either begum bazar (bangles and dress materials) or Charminar (pearls and gems) on fridays, hindu festival days or muslim festival days!!!
    Or any other perceived sensitive days!!

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  5. KCR will win quite easily. Since it is a newly formed state, he does not face much incumbency. Also he has not done anything very wrong. The fact that he is seen allying with BJP will also work in his favour. There is no serious opposition candidate who will make a better CM at this juncture in Telengana.

    I think we should be more optimistic about 2019. BJP has a pretty weak and divided opposition which is still undecided about who will become PM. BJP needs to ask voters for 400 seats and present voters with a list of things they will surely do if they get 400. They have to impress upon voters why voting for a local party in 2019 is like throwing away their vote and not having any say in the Centre.

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  6. Sorry to be late to the party. My modem mother board burnt out yesterday and I could replace it only today. (Of course the diagnosis also took some time.)

    Thanks Mohan for your “unwavering” support! 🙂

    I believe that KCR will sail through. He has not nominated anyone in the 5 seats now held by the BJP. He has also burnt his bridges with the Congress (assuming he had some to begin with) by (quoting Sujoy here) “calling the Congress clown a clown.”

    In the outgoing Assembly the BJP had only 5 out of 119 seats, and Congress, TDP had some sats. The TDP will surely get wiped out, with no leader and the TDP “supremo” struggling to hold on in AP. The local BJP-wallahs, clueless as they are, are strutting around saying that Congress will be wiped out, and that the fight is between the BJP and TRS. I don’t know whether they are saying that just for public consumption. But all signs are that TRS will join a post-poll alliance if not a pre-poll alliance with the BJP (for the Lok Sabha, not now). So Amit Shah’s major challenge will be to ensure that the motormouths of the local BJP don’t queer the pitch with TRS by saying and/or doing stupid things. These guys are a big fat zero and probably even I wouldn’t waste my time supporting them.

    For the Lok Sabha, Amit Shah can try a deal whereby TRS gives a majority of seats to the BJP in return for its support at the state level. But KCR might be too strong to go for such a deal.

    I note that Sunil Deodhar is in AP trying to work his magic. Perhaps he is six months or one year too late. Time will tell.

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    1. Dear Prof. Vidyasagar,

      KCR doesnt mince words but “biggest buffoon in the country” seemed extreme.
      What was the reason KCR attacked Rahul Gandhi so aggressively ? After all, the Congress did him a favour by splitting the state. If they had not, KCR would not even be a CM.

      I think KCR will have a pre-poll alliance with BJP to ensure he wins the LS seats too. Having a few ministers at the centre for the first time will help cement his position in the state.

      NCBN meanwhile is caught between the devil and the Bay of Bengal. Wondering what is the real reason he walked out. Special Status does not seem to be a convincing enough reason.

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  7. But sentiments of Majority in AP seems to be anti BJP. They fell hook line and sinker on the special status story, and Petrol price/dollar fall is only fuelling the fire. Unless BJP declares itself as a hindu party…. I fear we stare bleakly at a rehash of 2004!!!

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  8. Replying to both Mr. Kannan and Sudhakiyer.

    No, the Congress did NOT do a favor to KCR — the AP reorganisation bill wouldn’t have passed without the active support of Advani, Sushma Swaraj and Venkaiah Naidu. Fortunately for the BJP, the people of residual AP blame only Congress for the bifurcation.

    On the other hand, the BJP (read Arun Jaitley) has royally botched up the special status vs. special package business. The BJP’s communication on this has ranged from pathetic to non-existent What is the point of having so may Telugu speakers like Ram Madhav, G. V. L. N. Rao and even Venkaiah Naidu before he became VP, if not one of them took the trouble to articulate the situation clearly? Jaitley was at his arrogant best, and his body language and real language alienated people in AP far more than any actual details. The BJP has itself to blame for not foreseeing that Naidu would dump them again, and not speedily implementing whatever was promised in the bill. Now it is too late. In this I agree with Sudhakiyer.

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    1. Dhanyavaad professor ji. I have moved to hyd and I see telengana firmly with KCR. But AP too blinded by their own wishes, desires, jealousy and anger towards telengana and BJP just gave them a vent. I hope they don’t fall into evangelist YSJ Lap. TN and AP: my two countries are the eternal Fort of sanatana dharma, that’s why soul vultures had their Malicious eyes on these 2 and have almost accomplished their harvest goals!!

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