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Regained significant ground in Telangana, confident of defeating TRS: Congress

According to its internal assessment, the Congress has regained “significant” ground across the state since chief minister K Chandrasekhar Rao, popularly known as KCR, dissolved the Telangana assembly on September 6 for early polls.

india Updated: Oct 30, 2018 23:28 IST
Aurangzeb Naqshbandi
Aurangzeb Naqshbandi
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
Telangana Election 2018,Telangana Polls 2018,Telangana Election 2018 News
The Congress which has tied with the Telugu Desam Party of Andhra Pradesh chief minister Chandrababu Naidu (left) for the Telangana assembly polls is confidence of winning the state (File photo) (AFP)

Buoyed by recent defections from the Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) and a positive internal assessment about its prospects, the Congress is confident of upsetting the ruling party’s apple cart in Telangana in the December 7 assembly elections.

On Saturday, former TRS lawmakers T Narsa Reddy and S Ramulu Naik joined the Congress, followed by TRS Rajya Sabha member D Srinivas. The Congress is also trying to induct (OBC) Other Backward Classes leader and former Telugu Desam Party (TDP) legislator R Krishnaiah into the party.

According to its internal assessment, the Congress has regained “significant” ground across the state since chief minister K Chandrasekhar Rao, popularly known as KCR, dissolved the Telangana assembly on September 6 for early polls.

“The primary reason for that is TRS’s declining popularity due to the arrogance of the ruling party’s first (KCR) family. We have recovered in most of the constituencies and you will see surprising results on December 12,” said a Telangana Congress functionary. He said the party is constantly updating its assessment after getting regular feedback from the ground about its electoral prospects.

Congress leader M Shashidhar Reddy said his party has also gained ground due to its “successful and vigorous” campaigning. “We are going to the voters telling them that TRS has aligned with the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and a vote for KCR will, in fact, be a vote for the BJP.”

Reddy added that KCR had dissolved the assembly six months ahead of the schedule as per a “game plan”. He said that the Congress has succeeded in “derailing” that strategy. “They (TRS) were no doubt in a hurry besides being overconfident, evident from KCR’s announcement of 105 candidates on the day he dissolved the assembly. All this was done under a game plan but we have since upset their calculations. The response to our rallies and public meetings clearly reflects that the Congress is on the upswing.”

The Congress is also upbeat over the progress in the talks over the proposed grand alliance in Telangana. It has agreed to contest 90 out of the 119 seats. The Telugu Desam Party (TDP), Telangana Jana Samithi (TJS) and the Communist Party of India (CPI) will get the remaining 29 seats.

However, the TRS appears unruffled. “No senior or serious leader, with a mass base, is leaving the TRS. In any case, it is going to be a landslide victory for us. We will cross 100 seats,” said TRS Lok Sabha member Boianapalli Vinod Kumar. He said the Congress was unable to face the TRS alone and has hence joined hands with the TDP.

“Congress and the TDP were two political entities in undivided Andhra Pradesh. Now, how will you assess the popularity of TRS? These rival parties would have been unable to contest against the TRS unless they joined hands. So, they have come together to fight against us. This alliance is, in fact, a blessing in disguise for us,” he said.

Hyderabad-based political analyst C Narasimha Rao said that it is not the case of Congress gaining ground, but the TRS losing its popularity. “People are feeling cheated and deceived because TRS has failed to fulfill the promises it made in 2014. They want to teach KCR and the TRS a lesson.” It would have been a cakewalk for the TRS until some weeks ago, but now some of its legislators and ministers are facing some “anxious moments” in their constituencies with voters questioning them about their promises, Rao added.

First Published: Oct 30, 2018 23:28 IST