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BJP, an emerging force in fight for Telangana?

Last updated on: March 21, 2012 18:23 IST

Andhra by-poll: BJP, an emerging force in fight for Telangana?

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Riding on strong the Telangana sentiment, the Telangana Rashtra Samithi has swept the Andhra Pradesh by-polls. But what does its defeat to the BJP in the Mahabubnagar mean? Vicky Nanjappa analyses 

The results of the Andhra Pradesh by-polls have given a fillip to the Telangana movement.

The Telangana Rashtra Samithi has bagged four of the seven assembly seats at stake, of which six were located in Telangana. Interestingly, the TRS lost the seat from the Telangana region of Mahabubnagar to the Bharatiya Janata Party. (Voting was held on Sunday and results were being counted on Wednesday.)

What do the by-poll results mean for Telangana?

The demand for a separate Telangana, which has haunted the Congress government in Andhra Pradesh, is expected to a get a new dimension after the by-election results.

The fact that the BJP managed to win the Muslim-dominated Mahabubnagar seat is being looked at as a positive sign by some Telangana activists.

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Image: BJP Andhra President G Kishan Reddy shows a sword after victory in the Mahabubnagar district
Photographs: Snaps India

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'KCR claiming proprietorship of Telangana, doing nothing'

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The BJP bagged the seat by defeating a TRS candidate and this according to pro-Telangana activists is the beginning of a new dawn. The region will see an alternate force, they feel.

In the Andhra by-election, the BJP contested from Mahabubnagar alone and emerged victorious. Prior to the poll, several representations were made to TRS chief K Chandrasekhara Rao and the Telangana Joint Action Committee not to field a TRS candidate against the BJP. However, the party did not pay any heed to this request and the verdict went against it.

Telangana activists like Dr Prithviraj say that they are not looking at this victory as a win for the BJP alone.

"We are more excited because the process to form an alternate force in the Telangana region can now commence. We have often found that KCR has been claiming proprietorship of the Telangana cause and more often than not he was the one who was heading the talks. It is clear that he had done nothing much about it. However, with the TRS losing this seat we can now see the formation of an alternate force, which could maintain a check on it."


Image: TRS supporters celebrate after the by-poll win
Photographs: Snaps India

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'Telangana activists have been resting their hopes on BJP'

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"The victory of a non-TRS candidate has also injected enthusiasm in the Nagam Janardhan Reddy group, the United Front and the Praja Front. Moreover, some of the activists of Telangana had been resting their hopes on the BJP, which has always promised that it would ensure statehood to the region if brought to power in the Centre. Had the BJP candidate lost, there was a danger of the party considering a tie-up with Chandrababu Naidu or Jaganmohan Reddy -- both anti-Telangana leaders. The people of Telangana hope that this victory will keep the interest of the BJP in the Telangana issue alive," he said.

For the Congress and the Telugu Desam Party, Wednesday's results have been disappointing. 

While it was clear that they would lose in Telangana, the other worry is the emergence of the YSR Congress party, which won in Kovuru. The Congress has often been forced to react on the Telangana issue, but eventually the matter has died down.


Image: BJP supporrters rejoice after defeating TRS in Mahabubnagar
Photographs: Snaps India

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BJP's rise in Telangana has Congress worried

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The internal agreement was that they would act on Telangana only before the elections so that the decision, which would be fresh in the minds of the people, could woo more voters. There is expected to be a fresh demand by the Congress leaders from the Telangana region to show some interest towards the cause. If the high command does not act this time then it would be curtains down for them in the region.

The other big worry for the Congress is that the Jagan-led YSR Congress which has been eroding into its vote base. The Congress would however not worry too much about the Kovuru result, as it was the TDP, which lost its vote share in the by-election.

A Congress leader seeking anonymity said that the first thing that they would like to do is to boost the morale of their leaders. "There are certain issues that need to be addressed and it is time for them to start working in belts that favour Jagan. In addition to this, the party needs to take a clear stand on the Telangana issue," he said.


Image: A deserted Congress office in Andhra Pradesh
Photographs: Snaps India

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