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6 reasons behind Congress's Telangana nightmare

May 16, 2014 17:33 IST

Vicky Nanjappa speaks to experts and points out six reasons behind the Congress’s dismal show in Telangana, although at one point it was expected that the grand old party will be electorally rewarded after it passed the bill for the new state in Parliament.

Many would feel that Congress president Sonia Gandhi will feel betrayed by the people of Telangana. The Congress played the prominent role in carving out a new state with an intention to hold on to at least one part of Andhra Pradesh to counter the ‘Jaganmohan Reddy wave’. As such, the worst nightmare for the grand old party has come true as it been demolished both in Seemandhra and Telangana, with the mandate going in favour of Telangana Rashtriya Samithi in the latter.

Interestingly, the YSRCP has not managed to bag as many seats as expected in Seemandhra, with the Telugu Desam Party-Bharatiya Janata Party combine putting up an impressive show.

While none expected the Congress to do even marginally well in Seemandhra, it does have a lot of soul searching to do in Telangana, and find out what went wrong for them. Some would think that if they had not split Andhra Pradesh, they would have still won 5 seats in Seemandhra.

Speaking to the analysts to understand the Congress’s defeat in Telangana, one gets the impression that a lot changed against the party in the last month of campaigning.

After the Telangana bill passed in Parliament, there was a sense of gratitude among the people of the region and it appeared that they would reward the Congress. However, there was a change in the mindset of the people as polling day approached.

The experts point out six reasons behind Congress’s decimation in Telangana:

Firstly, the people felt that if the Congress could betray Rayalaseema overnight despite winning so many elections from there, they could well do the same to Telangana as well.

Secondly, even the TRS managed to convince the people that the state was granted for a political compulsion and not to respect the sentiments of the people. This weighed heavily against the Congress as a result of which they lost in Telangana.

Thirdly, the factor that played on the minds of the Telangana voters is that they wanted a party which was dedicated entirely to them. The TRS was that option as it had a single agenda of Telangana.

Fourthly, the people felt that real challenges lie ahead following the green signal for separate statehood, and the TRS was capable of addressing those concerns.

Fifthly, now the people would want the TRS to have close ties with the Bharatiya Janata Party at the Centre as the Union government is extremely crucial for the development of a new state.

In the case of the Congress they felt that they would use the state government for political compulsions and the fact that the BJP was coming to power at the Centre meant that there would be a tug of war between the state and the Union government.

Sixthly, for the Congress the fact that they could enter into a tie-up with the TRS was the final nail in the coffin. They knew that despite granting statehood TRS was a major player and they did not want to lose their vote share to them.

However, the TRS sensed a victory and felt that it would be completely sidelined if it allied with the Congress and decided refuse their offer.

The TRS has a clear mandate now and KCR is all set to become the first chief minister of Telangana. The TRS has a major task ahead and a lot of its own future would depend on how it builds the new state in the next five years.

Image: Congress workers unveil a statue of Sonia Gandhi in Hyderabad as a mark of respect following its decision to grant separate statehood to Telangana

Photograph: SnapsIndia

Vicky Nanjappa