Prof K Nageshwar — Is TRS preparing for early Assembly elections

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The unconfirmed reports emanating from ruling political circles is that the chief Minister KCR may prefer elections to state legislature along with this round of Assembly elections in the country. The BJP ruled states like Rajasthan , Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh are to go for polls later this year.

Giving credence to these reports Chief Minister KCR said that his party would announce candidates in this September itself. Stating that he is prepared for any eventuality, he refuses to call advancing the dates as premature elections as polls can be held any time during the six months before the completion of the term of the current legislature.

Political sources further claim that KCR discussed this matter with the Prime minister Narendra Modi in his recent meetings.

The TRS supremo has already endorsed the BJP government’s proposal for simultaneous elections to Loksabha and state legislatures. If this proposal is cleared, elections to Telangana Assembly will anyhow be held along with Loksabha elections as per schedule. But, there has not been a political consensus on the proposal mooted by the law Commission. Early decision on this matter may be unlikely.

If simultaneous elections do not take place, the TRS reportedly seeking polls to be advanced to November, December instead of scheduled polls in April, May . There are several reasons to substantiate this political grapevine. Firstly, the TRS is in understanding with MIM in the state and enjoys undeclared bonhomie with BJP at the centre. This bonhomie was no secret in the recent past with TRS voting for NDA nominee in the elections to deputy Chairman of Rajyasabha at a time when united opposition would have trounced the ruling NDA. This was quite contrary to the stand taken by TRS during the no confidence vote. The party abstained from voting than claiming its policy of equidistance.

KCR’s moves in the recent past are quite opposed to his proclaimed stand of forming a federal front opposed to both BJP and the Congress.

Reports indicate that 2019 would be the most polarised elections with BJP raising the emotive issues like the NRC of Assam and the special status of Jammu and Kashmir. The cow lynching, the triple talaq, the citizenship amendment bill etc., besides the Ram temple issue triggered by both government and its parivar would certainly create a highly polarised atmosphere in the country in the run-up to 2019 polls. KCR fears that such a polarised atmosphere may cost him the crucial Muslim vote. Muslims account for 12 percent of state’s population. The ruling TRS hopes to appropriate a large part of this vote through its welfare schemes and open understanding with the MIM. Despite uncritical stand towards Modi dispensation. Any dent into this vote may have serious repercussions for the party’s victory. Besides, other sections of society especially dalits are also angered over host of issues that cropped up in the recent past. The Madigas, the sub group in SCs are already up in arms on the TRS for not ensuring justice to them in the form of sub categorisation of scheduled castes.

If elections to state Assembly are delinked from that of Loksabha elections, KCR reportedly feels that he need not pay the bills for discontent over Modi in certain sections.

The government has initiated the ambitious Rythu Bandhu scheme of transferring Rs. 8000 cash per acre whether there are agricultural operation on that land or not. The TRS hopes to encash on this cash transfer scheme. But, if elections are held in April-May, the issues in the agrarian sector will be completely different. The issue of remunerative prices would come to fore. the state has already witnessed rampant farmers’ protests during the last season on falling prices of agricultural produce. This anger would overwhelm the sympathy due to cash support.

The opposition congress is still disunited with too may claimants for the Chief Minister’s gaddhi. The internal feuds in its strongholds like Nalgonda, Mahbubnagar are worrying the Congress. Its attempts to stitch rainbow coalition at the state level is yet to fructify. The TRS thus wants to take the opposition by surprise by going for early polls.

The lurking fear in TRS is that the Congress may win in Rajasthan and the other states that go to polls later this year. The trends already indicate such a possibility. Any such eventuality would create a pro-Congress mood in the nation that may have positive impact for the party in Telangana too much to the detriment to TRS.

Given these factors, the TRS may seek early dissolution of the state Assembly paving the way for elections in the state along with the next round of Assembly elections.

( Prof.K. Nageshwar is India’s noted political analyst. He is a former member of the Telangana Legislative Council and professor in the Department of Communication & Journalism, Osmania University, Hyderabad, India )


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