Supporters of Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) chief K Chandrasekhara Rao in key parliamentary constituencies present a dichotomy. They want to see BJP’s Narendra Modi as the next prime minister but will vote only for TRS candidates in both assembly and Lok Sabha elections.
The BJP is an ally of Telugu Desam Party (TDP) in Telangana, which will be formally carved out of Andhra Pradesh as India’s 29th state on June 2. TDP chief N Chandrababu Naidu is perceived as anti-Telangana.
“Naidu betrayed us,” said Yadaiah, a dalit farmer in Ranga Reddy district. “Modi will ensure jobs and solve our problems like he has done in Gujarat,” said U Bhimaya of Mirzaguda village, who left TDP to join TRS recently.
For TRS, the TDP-BJP alliance is less of a worry than the Congress across 17 Lok Sabha and 110 assembly seats in Telangana. TRS and Congress are fighting to take credit for Telangana’s creation and this has put the people in a dilemma —— whether to vote for TRS that fought for Telangana or the Congress that facilitated the new state.
“We can’t let the sacrifices of TRS workers go waste,” said Sayiapa of Nalgonda’s Parada village. But Martama, a dalit woman in Mahbubnagar’s Barsapur village countered, crediting Congress chief Sonia Gandhi for ‘teaching the Seemandhra people a lesson”. Many in Telangana disregard their counterparts in Seemandhra, the other half of present-day Andhra Pradesh.
In Nalgonda, the fight is between sitting Congress MP Gutha Sukhender Reddy and P Rajeswara Reddy of the TRS. Similarly, in Mahbubnagar from where Chandrasekhar Rao had won in 2009, Jaipal Reddy is facing a tough challenge from TRS’s Jitender Reddy and BJP’s Janardhan Reddy.
The TDP, meanwhile, is hit by exodus of its cadre to the TRS following Naidu’s flip-flop on the bifurcation issue. Naidu is banking on the ‘Modi wave’ to bag a few seats but the tie-up with BJP has cost it the minority vote.
Muslims are divided between TRS, which promised them 12% reservation, and the Congress. But they are not sure if the TRS chief can be trusted.