Hyderabad: After a surprise setback in the Lok Sabha elections, the ruling Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) led by chief minister K. Chandrasekhar Rao (KCR) is once again upbeat following a massive victory in the local body polls that were conducted in May (the results were held back until completion of the general elections). Moreover, the fact that 12 (out of 18) Congress MLAs have asked the assembly speaker to merge the Congress legislature party with the TRS on Thursday has also come as a shot in the arm for the latter.
After winning just 9 of the 17 LS seats, the TRS managed to win 60% of the total mandal parishad territorial constituencies (MPTCs) and a whopping 83% of the zilla parishad territorial constituencies (ZPTCs), leaving the Congress and BJP far behind. In fact, the BJP was hoping to win more MPTC and ZPTC seats, especially after winning 4 parliamentary seats, which was a first for it.
According to the Telangana State Election Commission (TSEC), the TRS won 3,548 (61%) MPTCs out of the total 5,817. The main opposition Congress managed to win 1,392 of the posts or 23%. Similarly, the TRS also won 449 (83%) of the 538 ZPTCs that witnessed polling, leaving the Congress, which won just 75 posts, far behind. The results have put the TRS in a firm position in Telangana, especially after the Lok Sabha results, which did not go the way the party expected them to.
In the 2019 Lok Sabha elections, both the Congress and BJP won 3 and 4 seats, which surprised the TRS, as it had expected to win close to 15 of the constituencies. KCR’s outfit had also stormed to power in the 2018 December state elections by winning 88 of the total 119 seats. “We were expecting to sweep the local body polls as we eventually did, but we did not expect to underperform in the Lok Sabha elections, given that the same people who voted us to power had voted against us," said a senior TRS leader who did not want to be quoted.
With 12 Congress defecting MLAs also asking the assembly speaker Pocharam Srinivas Reddy to merge the Congress legislature party) with the TRS, it is likely to result in the Congress getting extremely weakened.
“The TRS will now be happy that it won’t have to give the LOP status to the Congress, which now will have to show (outside the assembly) that it is still the main opposition. Voting for the Lok Sabha and local body polls shows the fact that people are thinking and they know whom to vote for at different levels. They may have voted for KCR at the rural level, but people who don’t like him or wanted Modi at the Centre have opted for Narendra Modi, otherwise the Congress. No longer can voters be taken for granted and this is the best thing to happen in Indian politics," opined political analyst Palwai Raghavendra Reddy.