New Delhi: Following the induction of 35 Bharat Rashtra Samithi (BRS) leaders into the Congress forward of its 2 July rally in Khammam, Telangana, the latter is being seen because the principal opposition within the state forward of polls scheduled to be held later this yr.
After a gathering with Congress president Mallikarjun Kharge and social gathering chief Rahul Gandhi Monday, former BRS MP Ponguleti Srinivas Reddy and former BRS minister Jupally Krishna Rao joined the social gathering with 33 others. Most BRS leaders who jumped ship are from Khammam, a politically-significant district which shares a border with Andhra Pradesh.
“The Telangana authorities has not fulfilled its guarantees to individuals. The income of Telangana is being looted by the social gathering and the household. The individuals of Telangana are offended,” mentioned Manikrao Thakre, All India Congress Committee (AICC) in-charge for Telangana, Tuesday at a press convention.
“When Sonia Gandhi heard the individuals and made Telangana a separate state, she had a mission for the state. A big majority of the SC, ST, OBCs had been reeling beneath poverty and statehood was granted to assist them. It has been 10 years and there was no change”, he added.
Telangana was granted statehood in 2014, when the Congress-led UPA authorities was on the Centre. In line with media stories, the Congress credit Sonia Gandhi, then social gathering president and UPA chairperson, as having fulfilled the many years lengthy demand of the Telangana individuals, who felt “alienated” by the Andhra authorities. One of many causes said by the federal government for bifurcation was higher distribution of sources within the Telangana area.
Talking to ThePrint, political analyst from Telangana Ok. Srinivasulu mentioned that the exodus of 35 leaders from BRS signifies a “clear shift” in state politics.
“It has been 10 years of BRS in energy and there’s an gathered discontentment throughout the social gathering. There’s a personalised construction (throughout the social gathering). Overlook the MLAs and MPs, even ministers don’t have entry to the supremo anymore,” mentioned Srinivasulu.
In line with Srinivasulu, earlier there was a wave in favour of the BRS, however now it has shifted to the Congress. He attributes this to 3 elements.
“First, the Karnataka elections. The Congress’s win within the state has been a catalyst for this variation. Secondly, a want among the many leaders of Reddy neighborhood within the BRS for a change within the political situation. And now that there’s a successful vitality within the Congress…these (BRS) leaders are shifting to the Congress,” he mentioned.
Third, mentioned Srinivasulu, is all the way down to “voter fatigue” in direction of BRS which leaders throughout castes are sensing.
“For instance, Jupally Krishna Rao is from the Velama caste, which is the CM’s caste. It’s influential however small by way of numbers. Ponguleti Srinivas Reddy is from the Reddy caste which makes up 6 to 7 per cent of Telangana’s inhabitants. Earlier, a former minister from a backward caste had jumped ship to the BJP. So, leaders throughout caste are leaving as a result of they sense voter fatigue.”
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Congress again in motion
Within the 2018 meeting elections in Telangana, referred to as early by Ok. Chandrashekar Rao (KCR), the Congress gained 19 seats with a vote share of 28.4 per cent, as in comparison with the BRS’ (then Telangana Rashtra Samithi) 88 within the 119-member Telangana meeting with a vote share of 46.9 per cent.
Within the 2019 Lok Sabha elections, the BJP tried to realize a foothold in Telangana. Of the 17 Lok Sabha seats within the state, BRS gained 9, and the BJP gained 4 — yet one more than the Congress’s three, regardless of the latter’s vote share proportion being greater than the BJP’s.
Nonetheless, the wind has shifted and Congress is again within the recreation and on a robust footing within the state.
Talking to ThePrint, no less than two BRS leaders, on the situation of anonymity, conceded that the Congress is a stronger competitor for them than the BJP. Formally, nevertheless, the social gathering has mentioned that each Reddy and Rao had been “working in opposition to the BRS”.
“For eight months, these two individuals had been window looking for this social gathering or that social gathering — both the BJP or Congress. There have been discussions and debates about whether or not they are going to be a part of throughout Amit Shah’s public assembly or Priyanka Gandhi’s public assembly. So, now they’ve lastly come to a conclusion,” mentioned Krishank Manne, spokesperson of the BRS, to ThePrint.
“In 2018, our social gathering president, CM KCR ji, in a public assembly very clearly addressed that we have now misplaced a couple of seats due to in-fighting. That a few of our leaders have labored in opposition to our social gathering candidates. So, it’s not a loss for us to lose somebody who was with us and was working in opposition to us,” he added.
Political analyst Mohan Guruswamy, nevertheless, believes that neither Ponguleti Srinivas Reddy or Jupally Krishna Rao are mass leaders, even inside Khammam.
“Ponguleti Srinivas Reddy has, previously 5 years, gone to all 5 events. He was a Congress MP, then he went to the TDP (Telugu Desam Get together), then to TRS. There’s numerous opposition to him within the district as a result of BRS cadre felt that he got here in later and was making an attempt to dominate the politics there,” mentioned Guruswamy.
“A number of attrition is going down to the Congress on the floor degree. However, to date, they don’t seem to be in placing distance of coming to energy. They’re very lively although and busy on the bottom and have changed the BJP as the primary opposition to KCR,” added Guruswamy.
Significance of Khammam
The selection of Khammam for the two July rally is important due to the district’s political relevance.
For the reason that starting of the election season, all events in Telangana have kick-started their ballot campaigns from Khammam.
Situated close to the Andhra Pradesh border, the demography of Khammam is totally different from that of the remainder of the state. It’s a district the place events from each side of the border really feel that they maintain sway. It is because of this that when Y.S. Sharmila — sister of Andhra Pradesh CM Jagan Mohan Reddy and daughter of former CM Y.S. Rajasekhara Reddy (YSR) — launched her personal social gathering, Yuvajana Sramika Rythu Telangana Get together (YSRTP), in Telangana, she launched it from Khammam.
She even mentioned that she desires to contest from the district’s Palair constituency.
Amid hypothesis that Sharmila could also be merging her social gathering with the Congress, the Khammam rally comes at an important time for the social gathering.
Throughout the time of YSR (the Nineteen Nineties and the early 2000s), Khammam was a Congress stronghold. It shares many social and cultural similarities with Andhra Pradesh. The district has a big Kama vote which is a majority neighborhood in Andhra. The previous Congress CM, who died in a helicopter crash in 2009, labored for the event of the district. Nonetheless, YSR was not a proponent of statehood for Telangana. And that’s the place the Congress’ dilemma lies.
Whereas the social gathering, sources say, are in talks with Sharmila, there’s a part throughout the Telangana Congress that feels that associating with YSR’s daughter might put the social gathering on a backfoot throughout the state.
Talking on the situation of anonymity, a senior chief of the Telangana Congress instructed ThePrint that Sharmila doesn’t have sufficient political capital within the state for the merger to considerably change the Congress’ fortunes.
“She can have relevance in Khammam as a result of YSR should still have some goodwill there. However to have the sister of the Andhra Pradesh CM within the social gathering might alienate the residents of Telangana who’ve fought onerous for statehood,” mentioned the chief.
He added that Sharmila’s entry into the social gathering might create one other energy centre within the already factionalised Telangana Congress with a camp led by state unit chief Revanth Reddy and one other led by senior state leaders already at loggerheads.
“If YSR had been to be alive, Telangana wouldn’t have been a actuality. He was a robust chief with the ear of the Congress excessive command and he had the capability to empty out BRS (then TRS). YSR was one of many few leaders who had a following in all three areas of undivided Andhra Pradesh. He had the picture of being invested within the curiosity of Andhra Pradesh so the individuals might imagine that it continues in his progeny,” mentioned Srinivasulu.
“If she joins Congress, she’s going to deliver the luggage related together with her household within the pre-divided state. For the merger to achieve success, Sharmila should eliminate that impression,” he added.
(Edited by Zinnia Ray Chaudhuri)
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