The Lok Sabha elections in Telangana, India’s youngest state, will be held in a single phase on 11 April. Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS), which won last year's Telangana elections under the leadership of chief minister K. Chandrashekar Rao (KCR), seems to have an advantage. Mint brings you a snapshot of the state’s electoral pot.
Why is the Lok Sabha election in Telangana unique this time?
Telangana, which sends 17 elected representatives to the Lok Sabha, was formed on 2 June 2014. The state’s formation, following the bifurcation of Andhra Pradesh, came shortly after Narendra Modi took over as prime minister on 26 May that year.
K. Chandrashekar Rao (KCR), who became the first chief minister in 2014, was returned to power last year with bigger numbers in the first assembly polls after the formation of the state. Arguably, this Lok Sabha election will be KCR’s first full assessment at the national level after serving a term as chief minister.
Which are the key parties and alignments in the state?
The TRS founded by KCR dominates the political ecosystem, having successfully fought for Andhra Pradesh’s bifurcation and the formation of Telangana. Congress has been a marginal player for some time now. N. Chandrababu Naidu’s Telugu Desam Party (TDP) is seen as an outsider in Telangana. Asaduddin Owaisi’s All India Majlis-e-Ittehad-ul-Muslimeen is another regional party with pockets of influence. TRS may leave the Hyderabad seat for Owaisi. The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) does not have much of a presence in the state.
Which are the key seats?
Chevella, Khammam, Nalgonda, Karimnagar, Hyderabad, Warangal and Secunderabad are the key seats. Karimnagar is considered “lucky" for KCR, who usually starts his political campaigns from there.
What are the key electoral issues?
The dearth of jobs, a national problem plaguing the Modi government, is a sensitive issue in the state. Low food prices and rising farm costs have made farmer suicides a big issue in Telangana, even as the state government has launched schemes to address the problem. KCR launched the Rythu Bandhu scheme, an investment support initiative for farmers that is among the relatively more effective schemes to tackle rural distress. But tenant farmers are unhappy as they haven’t benefited much from the scheme.
What does the assembly election held in December indicate?
TRS won 88 of the 119 seats in the assembly elections held on 7 December 2018. Not keen to hold simultaneous polls with the Lok Sabha elections, KCR advanced the assembly polls to December. His party garnered 46.9% of the votes. The Congress came a distant second, with a 28.4% vote share. BJP got only one seat. If these numbers are any indication, KCR will get a sizeable number of seats in the Lok Sabha polls. It’s unlikely that anything would have changed on the ground since the elections.