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India's youngest state Telangana is going to polls on December 7 and the approaching assembly elections will be the first ever, after the state was separated of Andhra Pradesh on June 2, 2014.
Triumphant in Previous Elections
In previous elections, Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) emerged as the largest party by winning 63 out of 119 seats, which were held in then undivided Andhra Pradesh in April-May 2014.
The Indian National Congress (INC) was limited to 21 seats and the Telugu Desam Party (TDP) with its then alliance partner, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), secured 20 seats (five BJP and 15 TDP), while the All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (AIMIM) secured seven and others eight.
Currently, TRS is making an effort to keep hold of its power in the state while the Congress is trying to get back its lost bastion. The BJP is also in the ballot battle to make its presence felt.
But the question is who will win the polls?
According to political experts, TRS commands a lead, but the opposition alliance under Prajakutami banner is fast closing that gap.
"TRS still have an edge, but the main Opposition - the Congress-led alliance - is catching up fast," political analyst K Nageshwar said in talks with Moneycontrol.
He shared several conditions that might go against the 'pink' party in this battle of the ballot:
KCR and his party, TRS, were confident of the 'there is no alternative' or the TINA factor and were widely believed to be able to retain Telangana when they dissolved the assembly in September. However, a lot has changed on the ground in the past three months. The surprise emergence of an alliance between Congress, TDP, TJS (Telangana Jana Samithi) and CPI (Communist Party of India) under 'Prajakutami' banner was able to tap the simmering discontent against the TRS government, among youth and tenant farmers.
If it makes an impact on the voting conduct of the Telangana people, winning the election would not be hands-down for the TRS.
TRS leaders and candidates, along with conducting massive poll campaign across the state, are promoting welfare schemes introduced by the state government, but then, these schemes might as well be a drawback for the party.
According to Nageshwar, beneficiaries of the schemes may perhaps be inclined towards TRS but non-beneficiaries are very critical of the government.
Even the beneficiaries can turn up against the government given the fact that these schemes increase expectations, which beats the satisfaction level of beneficiaries. In such cases, if other parties announce better schemes, even the existing beneficiaries can be wooed and may vote in favor of any party other than the TRS, he said.
Many TRS Members of Legislative Assembly (MLAs) are drawing flak in their respective constituencies for not being within reach and performing below expectation. Asked the ground behind it, Nageshwar said the MLAs are weak as power has been concentrated in the hands of KCR and his family members. According to him, KCR could not build a robust organization in the state.
"He (KCR) believed that the sentiments made him win in 2014 and he thinks that his own popularity will make him win this time. So, the candidates are weak. If the party wins the polls, it will be KCR’s personal charisma, but how long will it remain?" he quips.
Even KCR's son and state minister KT Rama Rao agreed that there was anti-incumbency feeling against some leaders of the party. He, however, believed that it will not impact the party's chances in assembly polls as it will be "eclipsed" by the image of his father.
"People realize that this is the election where KCR (as the chief minister is popularly known as) gets elected as chief minister. For that to happen, they have to vote for MLAs. Whatever anti-incumbency or dissatisfaction that could be against incumbent MLAs, that will be eclipsed by KCR," Rao told PTI.