Telangana Congress president A. Revanth Reddy greets party workers and supporters after the party’s win in Telangana, in Hyderabad on December 3, 2023.
| Photo Credit: G. Ramakrishna
Telangana, the citadel of the Bharat Rashtra Samithi (BRS) for the last 10 yearshas been overrun by the Congress after a nine-and-half-year battle with the promise of self-respect and welfare schemes. It has also put brakes on BRS chief K. Chandrashekhar Rao’s dream of playing a key role in the national politics.
The party secured 64 seats on its own and added to its tally in the form of its ally Communist Party of India (CPI) and is all set to form the government for the first time after the formation of the Telangana State. The BRS ended up with 39 seats, most of these coming from Hyderabad district and its surrounding Rangareddy district.
Some of the biggest names in Telangana politics bit the dust in these elections including Chief Minister K. Chandrashekhar Rao, who lost in Kamareddy to the BJP candidate Venkatramana Reddy. The TPCC president stood behind KCR in this constituency. However, both KCR and Mr. Revanth Reddy won from Gajwel and Kodangal constituencies quite comfortably.
The counting day saw the fate of several senior leaders sliding, with six Ministers of the BRS government losing with huge margins. Ministers Indrakaran Reddy, Niranjan Reddy, Puvvada Ajay Kumar, Srinivas Goud, Koppula Eashwar and Errabelli Dayakar Rao had to taste an ignominious defeat. Other big upsets included BJP MPs Bandi Sanjay and Dharmapuri Arvind. The lone BSP warrior R.S. Praveen Kumar too did not get the expected victory.
Congress literally swept South Telangana districts winning 9 out of 10 seats in the combined Khammam district, 11 out of 12 in the combined Nalgonda district and 12 out of 14 in the combined Mahabubnagar district. In the North Telangana districts, where it is considered not so strong, Congress made considerable inroads winning 10 out 12 seats in Warangal, eight out of 12 in Karimnagar, four out of 9 in Nizamabad and four out of 10 in Adilabad districts. In Rangareddy district too it bagged four seats.
Congress could have done much better but it saw a major hurdle in the form of BJP in Adilabad and Nizamabad districts. The BJP made surprise gains in 7 seats in these two districts, all of which are first-time MLAs. The BRS, which had ruled over Nizamabad and Karimnagar for a decade, saw its popularity sliding, mainly due to the anti-incumbency factor of the sitting MLAs. In 14 new districts BRS could not bag a single seat.
The saving grace for the BRS was Hyderabad where IT Minister K.T. Rama Rao emerged as the futuristic leader with a strong urban and sophisticated face of the government and the party. Out of the 15 seats here, BRS bagged 7 and its friendly party AIMIM bagged 7 while one went to the BJP in the form of Raja Singh in Goshamahal. Congress drew a blank here.
The Congress campaign focussed on the family rule of KCR and the huge corruption charges it made on the Kaleshwaram project and the selling of government lands apart from the Dharani portal. The unemployment issue pushed the BRS into a corner and it failed to counter it effectively. The six promises made to the people and financial support to the tenant farmers and agriculture labourers drew them closer to people in the rural areas.