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?