The very popular face, K. Chandrashekhar Rao, leader of Telangana Rashtra Samithi had swept the very first elections in the newly formed state of Telangana in 2014, securing 63 seats in the legislative assembly as opposed to his neared opponent Ponnala Lakshmaiah of INC getting 22 seats. However, before his term was completed, he had resigned quite unexpectedly, on 6th September 2018, 9 months before the completion of his term paving the way to fresh elections in December 2018. Had the elections taken place according to the original schedule, they would have coincided with the General Elections as was the case with the Andhra Pradesh assembly elections.
To take on the much popular KCR, the opposition in the state including Congress, TJS, TDP and CPI had announced an alliance known as the Mahakootami, ahead of the assembly elections. However, this bore no fruitful results as KCR once again emerged victorious, getting 88 seats out of the 119 in total, a substantial increase from its last election’s tally.
The results had effectively proved that KCR was still a very popular figure in the state, even more so than he was the last time around. This was exactly what puzzled people as the resignation was unexplainable. Neither was KCR unpopular nor did he face any tough competition. TRS was already in a comfortable majority in the state so the need to resign thus forcing early elections was baffling to say the least.
However, now with the Lok Sabha poll results out and BJP’s unexpected performance in the state, KCR’s need for early elections has started making a lot more sense. The BJP has won 4 seats out of total 17 in the LS elections in Telangana. The unexpected seat tally amidst a strong performance precedent by KCR was buttressed by the fact that BJP candidate defeated KCR’s daughter as well.
If the assembly elections would have taken place on time, they would have coincided with the Lok Sabha elections, the time wherein BJP’s popularity was at its peak. At that point of time, KCR had faced competition from Congress and other parties in the Mahakootami and BJP did not have any presence there, which is indicated by the fact that BJP only got 1 seat out of 119 in the state. If the assembly elections had coincided with the national elections, PM Modi’s popularity and influence would have definitely made a difference in its electoral outcomes in the assembly, and this is exactly what KCR avoided by prematurely holding the assembly elections in the state.
KCR’s fears were completely justified as this is exactly what has happened. There is no better example of BJP’s silent undercurrent than Telangana. In a state where only 1 seat was being envisaged, that of Secunderabad from where Kishan Reddy had contested, the people have given 4 seats to the BJP, pushing back TRS’ number to 10 seats. Reddy was quite a popular face and a campaigner, being a 3 time MLA, who lost very narrowly in 2018 elections (perhaps would have won if time was given to prepare).
Out of the 4 seats, the most surprising seat was that of Nizamabad, from where Kalvakuntla Kavitha, the daughter of KCR had contested. Being the MP from the constituency in the 2014-19 term, she has lost the seat to BJP candidate D. Aravind this time around. Moreover, BJP had also won the seat of Karimnagar. KCR’s son, K.T. Rama Rao is an MLA from Sircilla that falls under the Karimnagar Lok Sabha constituency. KTR was envisaging a large majority for TRS in the constituency. Unfortunately for him, TRS has lost on its home turf to the BJP candidate Bandi Sanjay. Apart from these crucial constituencies, BJP candidate Soyam Babu Rao, who recently jumped the ship from Congress won from Adilabad.
During the last Lok Sabha election, BJP had won just 1 seat in the present state of Telangana. That has now increased to 4 seats including KCR’s own daughter’s seat. The massive majorities secured by BJP candidates in Telangana demonstrate that, contrary to poll analysts, Southern state was not untouched by the Modi wave.
KCR was well aware of this and estimated that his losses might be even bigger in the state assembly elections and he might lose the state altogether, or at least would have had to form a coalition government in the state. Thus, in order to minimize the damage, he devised a plan to ensure his definite victory in the state assembly and chose to forego a few seats in the Lok Sabha- because that really wasn’t in his hands.