The election in the newly formed state Telangana is scheduled for December 7. Four of the opposition parties contesting the elections, the Indian National Congress, the Telangana Jana Samithi, the Telugu Desam Party and the Communist Party of India have announced the formation of ‘Mahakutami’ (Grand Alliance), with an objective of defeating the ruling Telangana Rashtra Samithi in the elections.
The alliance which has been dubbed as “Mahakutami” is as opportunistic as it can get. Naidu had been one of the fiercest critics of the Congress party and his overnight change of heart might be a little too much for people to digest. Local dynamics may work for the coalition but the public seems confused in their opinions. Till yesterday, both TDP & TRS accused Congress of the separation of Andhra and Telangana. But now the TDP has decided to contest election hand in hand with Congress.
There is another angle to the story, as N. Chandrababu Naidu, leading TDP in the Telangana election, is popular in Andhra Pradesh but not so much in Telangana. It is a general rule that regional parties with one influential leader generally have influence in one state only. According to the theory, one leader party finds it difficult to prop up an equal in other states. Let’s take the example of AAP’s failure in Punjab. Arvind Kejriwal maybe a strong leader in Delhi but a single leader party cannot allow his “equals” to crop up in other states. Similarly, in the case of BSP, Dalits are a huge vote bank in almost all the parts of the country but it remains a minor player everywhere outside Uttar Pradesh.
Another interesting point to ponder here is when a state splits up, the regional parties shrivel up and disappear from one or the other state. Before Bihar and Jharkhand were split up, RJD & JDU were big players in almost entire combined Bihar. But after separation, local parties like JMM & JPP shared most of the vote bank. Similar is the case of BSP-SP after the separation of Uttarakhand from Uttar Pradesh.
There could also be local dynamics at play and be easily missed. Like ‘Andhra Origin’ voters in Telangana may vote for the TDP. This issue would come around cities and urban areas. In the case of Hyderabad, there are 15 seats with half of the seats in Hyderabad under AIMIM and there is a pretty good chance of them retaining those seats.
Also, BJP has a stronghold in urban areas traditionally and hence the party will seek to comfortably pocket a few seats there. The question that needs to be asked is whether any space is left for a handful of “Mahakutami” voters to influence the election.
If we look at the vote share, in 2014 if a coalition as such was made, INC+TDP would have got 40% of the vote and TRS got 34%. Out of 40%, TDP got 15% and INC 25%. Now TDP is the ruling party in Andhra and applying general thumb rule, let’s take out half of their vote share, you immediately see that INC+TDP is now behind TRS. The best approach in Telangana election is taken by BJP. BJP is just playing the wait and watch game from the back seat as they are sure about KCR’s easy win. The drummed up “anti-BJP sentiment” among Andhra voters proved to be a complete fake. It is nothing more than a propaganda which is running out of gas on its own. Having considered all these factors, it seems very likely that Mahakutami is headed towards a failure in Telangana.