KCR wins by heavy margin, Congress distant second in Telangana
K Chandrashekar Rao’s Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) won a second straight term in India’s youngest state after scoring a landslide victory in the assembly elections.
The TRS won 88 seats in the 119-member assembly.
The Maha Kootami – the grand alliance of the Congress, Telugu Desam Party (TDP), Communist Party of India (CPI) and the Telangana Jana Samithi (TJS) – managed to win just 21 seats. The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) ended up with one seat.
The All-India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (AIMIM), headed by Asaduddin Owaisi, has retained seven seats, while independent candidates won the remaining three seats.
“We could have won another 17 to 18 seats but for the mistakes committed by our own party leaders,” Rao, better known as KCR, said at a press conference held at Telangana Bhavan in Hyderabad.
The chief minister’s gamble of dissolving the assembly in September and calling early elections paid rich political dividends. While the TRS president retained his Gajwel assembly seat with a margin of 58,290 votes, his son and information technology (IT) minister KT Rama Rao won from Sircilla for the fourth consecutive time with a margin of over 89,000 votes.
KCR’s nephew and irrigation minister, T Harish Rao, created a new record by winning the Siddipet assembly seat with a margin of over 118,000 votes.
Except four ministers — Tummala Nageshwara Rao from Palair in Khammam district, P Mahender Reddy from Tandur, Ajmeera Chandulal from Mulug, and Jupalli Krishna Rao from Kollapur in Wanaparthy district — all other ministers won their seats.
The biggest shock was reserved for the Congress-led Maha Kootami. Of the four alliance partners, the CPI and the fledgling TJS failed to open their accounts. The Congress won 19 seats and the TDP just two, both in Khammam district. Several Congress bigwigs suffered defeats. They include two Pradesh Congress Committee working presidents — A Revanth Reddy from Kodangal and Ponnam Prabhakar from Karimnagar.
The TRS bettered its performance compared to the 2014 elections, when it had won 63 seats, but had gone on to increase its tally to 90 following defections from the Congress, the TDP, YSR Congress, Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) and the CPI, besides winning two seats in by-elections. The Congress had won 21 seats and the TDP 15.
The BJP, which won five seats in 2014 in collaboration with the TDP, was expected to win at least half a dozen seats this time due to intensive campaign by top party leaders, including Prime Minister Narendra Modi, party president Amit Shah and Uttar Pradesh chief minister Yogi Adityanath. It, however, won only one seat, Goshamahal, where firebrand legislator T Raja Singh triumphed. Its Telangana unit president K Laxman and floor leader G Kishan Reddy lost.
KCR dissolved the assembly on September 6, almost nine months ahead of the actual completion of the assembly term. It was a calculated risk that paid off. “The victory belongs to the people. Various sections of people — Dalits, Adivasis, minorities and women — supported us. I bow my head to them and congratulate them on this victory,” the TRS president said. He asked TRS workers and leaders to remain humble, telling them the victory should not make them arrogant.
Celebrations erupted in TRS offices throughout the state as well as in Telangana Bhavan in New Delhi, where party activists danced to drumbeats, burst firecrackers and distributed sweets, shouting “Jai Telangana” and “KCR Zindabad”.
Pradesh Congress Committee chief N Uttam Kumar Reddy alleged that electronic voting machines had been manipulated and demanded that all votes be counted using the voter verified paper audit trail (VVPAT) to ascertain the exact number of votes polled by each candidate.
“Going by the distorted trends, there is a strong suspicion that EVMs have been manipulated. We demand that 100% counting of VVPAT must be taken up in all constituencies. All Congress candidates should submit letters to their returning officers demanding counting of VVPAT,” he said.
Telangana TDP general secretary and former MP Ravula Chandrasekhar Reddy said his party would analyse the reasons for the debacle. “The results are definitely not up to our expectations. We should have got more seats. We have to introspect as to where we went wrong,” he said.
CPI general secretary Suravaram Sudhakar Reddy attributed the TRS victory to large-scale distribution of money to voters. “Elections were not held in a fair and free manner,” he said.