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Telangana chief minister K Chandrashekar Rao. Photo: HT
Telangana chief minister K Chandrashekar Rao. Photo: HT

Litmus test for BJP in Telangana polls

BJP is contesting the elections without an alliance with any major party

Hyderabad: The upcoming Telangana Assembly polls will be a litmus test for the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), since it is contesting the elections without an alliance with any major party (it has joined hands with the Telangana Yuva Sena, which will contest one seat out of the total 119) unlike in 2014, when it fought the polls with the Telugu Desam Party.

BJP leaders said that the party’s performance this time will be crucial for it to gain a foothold in Telangana and the BJP had good chances of increasing tally from 5 (in 2014) to roughly 15 this time, which might allow the party to leverage its position in case of a hung assembly.

“Realistically speaking, the party expects to win 12 to 15 seats. We are expecting a close contest between the Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) and the Congress-led grand alliance, as the TRS is just playing mind games by trying to build a narrative that it will sweep the elections," according to a senior BJP functionary.

BJP MLC and national executive member Ram Chander Rao is confident his party will win “considerable" seats in the upcoming Telangana polls. “The TRS has failed to deliver on its promises it made in the 2014 elections, be it education or construction of houses for the poor. In 2014, because we had an alliance with the TDP at the last minute we did not have much time to campaign. I am confident of winning this time as well," said Rao, who is contesting from the Malkajgiri constituency, which he lost by a little over 2,000 votes in 2014.

In the 2014 Assembly elections, the BJP and TDP had a pre-poll alliance and the former contested in 45 seats, out of which it won five. All the constituencies it won (Uppal, Musheerabad, Amberpet, Goshamahal and LB Nagar) were from Hyderabad, and the party managed to get a 19% vote share. The TDP won 15 seats out of the 72 it fought in (12 of its MLAs, however, switched over to the TRS and one to the Congress later). The TRS came to power by winning 63 seats in 2014.

In the upcoming 7 December elections, the BJP will be fighting against the TRS and the Congress-led grand alliance comprising of the TDP, Telangana Samithi and the Communist Party of India. The results will be announced on 11 December with four other poll-bound states.

Political analyst Palwai Raghavender Reddy said that while it was to be seen how many seats the BJP would actually win, its plan to play an important role in case of a hung assembly was pragmatic. “The party wants some clout and that plan is closer to reality. However, we don’t see the BJP anywhere and I don’t see it really making a mark even though it has always had a vote share in Hyderabad and in some seats across the state."

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