The confidence of K Chandrasekhar Rao has trumped a cobbled up alliance of the Congress and the Telugu Desam Party in Telangana. As results of the Telangana assembly polls come out, it is clear that the K Chandrasekhar Rao (KCR)-led Telangana Rashtra Samiti (TRS) is set to form a government with a huge majority. Despite tall claims about wresting power in the state, the Prajakutami (grand alliance) of Congress, TDP, CPI and TJS turned out to be a grand flop show.
The alliance between arch-rivals Congress and TDP was cobbled up ahead of the assembly polls in a surprise move to stop KCR's victory for a second time.
It was a prestigious battle for all the three major players. For TRS, it wanted to establish itself as the lone player in Telangana while the Congress, whose government formed the state in a crucial political move, found the polls as an opportunity to emerge as the real representative of the people of the state. Even former Congress president Sonia Gandhi, who stayed away from the hectic campaigning in the five states that went to polls recently, addressed a rally in Telangana and was hailed as the 'mother' of the state. For Chandrababu Naidu and his TDP, the polls were an important opportunity to emerge as a leader of the state carved out of Andhra. He also found the polls as a chance to emerge as a key player of the united opposition that is likely to take on Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his BJP at the national level in the next Lok Sabha polls in 2019.
With KCR emerging as the undoubted leader of Telangana with a brute majority, the dreams of the Congress as well as the TDP are shattered. The dejected parties only have to find out now who lost the most?
The final numbers are yet to come but an early assessment considering the trends reveals that both the Congress and TDP have suffered badly. The parties had won 21 and 15 seats respectively in 2014 whereas the alliance has won or leading only in 21 seats now. (Notably, the TDP was with the BJP in 2014).
In effect, the alliance failed to make any impact despite making an impression that there was a tight fight.
The Congress seems to have lost big time in the gamble as their numbers have come down compared to the 2014 results which came at the peak of the Telangana statehood campaign. KCR's game of igniting the Telangana pride by calling Naidu as an outsider who was trying to rule Telangana sitting in Andhra also seems to have brought in rich dividends. The two parties constituted over 43 per cent votes last time and they were hoping to repeat the same this time around too. But the fact that the TRS was able to defect a major chunk of the TDP MLAs in 2014 was not counted well, it seems. The defected leaders appear to have taken away huge sums of vote share along with them.
Now the Congress has to introspect whether it was right to enter into a hasty alliance.
It is clear that the party, in its bid to capture power in the state at any cost, failed to understand the ground realities well in advance.
The Telangana results also put Naidu's credibility as a potential national leader at stake. Had the Telangana model been a success, it would easily be emulated in Andhra when the state goes to polls next year. But now with the adverse results it faced, the future of the alliance in Andhra is uncertain.
The BJP, though not a prominent force in Telangana, must be happy about the fate of the Congress-TDP alliance. It was evident from Union home minister Rajnath Singh's immediate reaction that the alliance has failed. However, Jagmohan Reddy of the YSR Congress in Andhra must be happier now than the BJP. The success of the 'Prajakutami' could have been a headache for him when he would meet them in his home state next year. With the alliance in tatters and the Congress in a sorry state in Andhra, Jagan can afford to don a smile.