6 factors that helped Cong swing Telangana
The Congress appears set to unseat KCR’s Bharat Rashtra Samithi, which has ruled the state for a decade
The Congress appears set to storm to power in Telangana, snuffing out the Bharat Rashtra Samithi (BRS), which has governed India’s youngest state since it was carved out in 2014. To be sure, around 11% of the vote has been counted in the state, according to election commission data.
Here are six factors that seem to have helped the Congress unseat K Chandrashekar Rao’s party.
Congress gains in negative vote against KCR
The Congress took advantage of the anti-incumbency surrounding K Chandrashekar Rao and his government and seems to have bagged a bulk of the votes in rural and semi-urban areas — both traditional strongholds of the BRS.
The Congress party made six key welfare promises during the campaign: Mahalakshmi, a women-focussed welfare programme; Rythu Bharosa, aimed at farmers and agricultural workers; Indiramma, which promised cheap housing for poor people; Gruhajyothy, promising power bill subsidies; Yuva Vikasam to help children from economically backward homes with their education and Cheyutha, a health insurance and pension programme. These appear to have hit home with voters and cashed in on discontent among Dalits and Other Backward Classes.
Minority votes go to Congress
The Muslim vote seems to have swung the Congress’s way, especially with its “Minority Declaration”, which focussed on minority welfare. The AIMIM’s loss was, hence, the Congress’s gain.
Weak BJP leadership
The BJP weakened its state unit after replacing its chief Bandi Sanjay with G Kishan Reddy in July. This appears to have destabilised the party and left it on much weaker ground, allowing the Congress to make hay of its position as the chief opposition party in the state.
The role of corruption allegations
Between July and November, the Congress flung a flurry of corruption allegations at K Chandrashekar Rao, apart from targeting the party on flawed programme implementation. These seem to have stuck and the BRS seems to have found these corruption allegations impossible to shrug off.
Hard-hitting social media campaign
Led by campaign strategist and social media wizard Sunil Kanugolu, the Congress stepped up its online combat as much as it did offline. The Congress’ blueprint on taking advantage of the anti-incumbency factor worked, with an online campaign focussed on videos, memes, GIFs, and posters.