Telangana election results 2018: Big winner KCR’s Telangana formula - Paisa, shaadi, paani, makaan
Telangana Elections Results 2018: Rao had to confront a challenge in the form of the Maha Kootami — the Grand Alliance of the Congress, Telugu Desam Party , Communist Party of India and the Telangana Jana Samithi.Updated: Dec 11, 2018 13:05 IST
Set for his second consecutive victory in Telangana, K Chandrashekhar Rao (KCR) has made the somewhat unusual transition from a man who was only synonymous with a political struggle — the creation of the state — to a leader synonymous with a governance model for which he has reaped rich rewards.
Rao called elections early. But he had to confront a challenge in the form of the Maha Kootami — the Grand Alliance of the Congress, Telugu Desam Party (TDP), Communist Party of India (CPI) and the Telangana Jana Samithi (TJS). Despite the formidable arithmetic of the opposition, he was able to defeat them.
And that was because KCR fundamentally relied on the provision of direct assistance to a large section of the citizenry in the form of welfare schemes. He also recognised that aspirations had changed, and that to make lives comfortable and meaningful, people needed paisa, shaadi, makaan and paani (money, marriages, homes and water).
Take farmers. The fundamental issue confronting them across the country is prices. KCR did not depend on the older mechanisms of MSPs, or indirect subsidies. He just gave them cash: Rs 4000 per acre per season, which is to say, Rs 8000 per acre (there are two harvesting seasons, ravi and kharif, in a year). So if you are a farmer with five acres of land, you would get Rs 40,000 through the year before even you sow a crop. This is a tremendous relief for farmers.
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Take families with daughters. Every politician often recounts how constituents seek money for the wedding of their daughters. KCR devised a state scheme for it. Kalyan Laxmi or Shaadi Mubarak (for Muslim families) gave ₹100,000 to anyone getting married.
Take the elderly, disabled, and widows. Every family has one or the other. And KCR’s Telengana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) gave them direct pensions.
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And then he made the big promise of makaan, housing. Prime Minister Narendra Modi also has tapped into this yearning for homes, and his rural housing scheme is a success. But KCR has raised it a notch, by promising two BHK apartments to poor families. This is a promise that has not been entirely fulfilled, but construction has begun. And the electorate recognised that they needed to have him to get this fully implemented. But homes also need electricity — citizens often talk about how they have ‘24 hour current’ — and water. KCR promised direct provision of clean, drinking water to each household.
KCR had baggage: a centralised administration; perception of corruption; promotion of family members; and locally unpopular legislators. But in yet another sign that the electorate now increasingly votes for the big leader and his delivery quotient, and is willing to overlook local factors, the KCR model succeeded.
With it, India has welfare politics of a qualitatively different level. Expect his victory to change both what citizens want from the state and what politicians want to increasingly deliver.
First Published: Dec 11, 2018 10:32 IST