The awareness poster for voting created by the Rangareddy District Election Officer in Miyapur ahead of the November 30 polling day..
| Photo Credit: GIRI KVS
The three-week long no hold barred high voltage campaign for the November 30 Assembly elections in Telangana that came to an end on Tuesday evening at the stroke of 5 p.m. had all the twists and turns.
The most unlikeliest issue that dominated the campaign was the governance in neighbouring Congress-ruled Karnataka and its ‘failed promises’ as alleged by the BRS dominated the issues. Campaign also hit a new high with the parties taking to television channels to take pot shots at the rival parties through stinging spots. The ads inserted by the major parties exposing each other turned murkier with EC notices to the parties.
In the high stakes elections for the ruling BRS, Congress and the BJP, the campaign witnessed accusations and counter accusations, challenges and denials by the top leaders. Corruption charge against the ruling dispensation and the family rule charge against BRS President and Chief Minister K. Chandrashekhar Rao dominated the political landscape.
The leading lights of the Congress and BJP led by none else than Rahul Gandhi and Prime Minister Narendra Modi chose to spend considerable time in election campaign. Dozens of Union Ministers and who is who of the Congress top leadership hit the road in Telangana to drum up support for the respective parties and candidates.
In the prestigious election for the BRS, KCR led the campaign from the front assisted ably by his son and working president K.T.Rama Rao, Minister for Finance T. Harish Rao and daughter and Member of Legislative Council K. Kavitha. To the credit of the BRS chief, he addressed as many as 96 election meetings in two phases.
Covering three to four election rallies every day by criss crossing the State in helicopter, KCR began his campaign harping on the welfare and development schemes and cautioning the voters about the Opposition Congress and the BJP and their opportunistic politics.
Trying to drive home the fact that any lethargy in choosing the right party at the time of voting would doom the development of the State, KCR resorted to emotive appeal by saying he would lose nothing if the party lost the election but made it clear, if the people wanted the State to suffer in the hands of rival parties. From welfare and development schemes, KCR hit back at the Congress on its pathetic governance in Karnataka where he alleged that the government was unable to provide five hour power supply. He also ridiculed TPCC chief A. Revanth Reddy for his talk of three hour power supply and suggestion to install 10 HP pumpsets.
As the campaign neared its end, the withdrawal of permission for disbursal of Rythu Bandhu assistance turned into a war of words between the BRS and the Congress. Both parties tried to gain political mileage out of the issue squarely blaming each for the Election Commission’s strong action.
The Congress harping on the corruption and family rule went to the people with its six guarantees. To give credibility to the promises, the Congress leaders during their door-to-door campaign gave each household the guarantee cards and promised to implement the same in 100 days assuming power. The cracks to the piers of Medigadda barrage and the political heat generated after that was a campaign issue frequently raised by the Congress.
The Congress campaign got a major fillip when Rahul and Priyanka Gandhi jointly launched the party bus yatra from famous Ramappa Temple in Mulugu district. The subsequent tour of North Telangana evoked tremendous response. The Gandhi family chose mass contact and interacted with the voters at every given opportunity. By bringing in Sonia Gandhi on September 17 to launch the party’s six guarantees, the Congress sent a message that the party’s Central leadership was focussed on Telangana.
Subsequent rallies by Rahul, Priyanka and Mallikarjun Kharge and other Central leaders gave a fillip to the campaign. There was huge demand for the presence of these leaders to boost the prospects of the Congress candidates. TPCC chief Revanth Reddy was also much in demand for the election rallies.
The BJP’s campaign spearheaded by the Prime Minister saw top guns of the party, including Union ministers – Amit Shah, Rajnath Singh, Smriti Irani and dozens of others — frequenting Telangana to boost the party’s prospects. Top central leaders – Tarun Chugh, Sunil Bansal, Prakash Javdekar and B.L. Santosh coordinated the party’s campaign strategy. The BJP theme was corruption, family rule and how the Centre’s welfare and developmental schemes had benefited Telangana. They sought a chance to make the State prosperous.
On the whole, the language used by the leaders put to shame common man. In an election where the stakes are very high for the BRS and the Congress, leaders chose to target the top leaders without any hesitation. The action of few leaders led to Election Commission taking serious note and slapping notices.
As the leaders now eagerly wait for the voters to queue up outside the polling booths to decide their fate, the big question is whether BRS performs a hat trick or cedes ground to the rejuvenated Congress and the BJP struggling to stay in the contention as force to reckon with.