In the run up to the Telangana Assembly elections there has been this spectacle of Telangana Rastra Samithi (TRS) leaders, including Chief Minister K. Chandrasekhar Rao and his heir apparent K. T. Rama Rao, taking pains to proclaim “whoever is living here is a Telanganite… we have not discriminated against anyone in the last four-and-half-years… Hyderabad belongs to everyone….” during their election campaign. Whether result would be similar to showing in GHMC elections or during last elections is the million dollar question

The duo are walking the extra mile in order to woo the voters of the Andhra-Rayalaseema origin euphemistically called ‘settlers’ towards their side as against lending their support to the ‘People’s Front’ of the Congress Party, Telangana-Telugu Desam, Telangana Jana Samithi and the Communist Party of India in the polls here.

Though there is no precise figure, political pundits are of the opinion that these voters can swing the election this way or that way in at least 35 constituencies, other than the Old City, spread across the State and predominantly so in the capital region and neighbouring districts. In the last General elections within the capital region, TRS has bagged three seats — Secunderabad, Malkajgiri and Medchal — when the State just got bifurcated and the party was riding the crest of popularity wave.

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The TDP had bagged nine seats in Kukatpally, Jubilee Hills, Secunderabad Cantonment, Serilingampally, L.B.Nagar, Maheswararm, Ibrahimpatnam, Rajendranagar and Qutbullapur while its then ally the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) won in five — Musheerabad, Uppal, Khairatabad, Goshamahal and Amberpet.

Last elections, TRS got 34.3% (63 seats), Congress 25.2% (21 seats), TDP 14.7% (15 seats) and BJP 7.1% (5 seats). However, during the subsequent Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation (GHMC) elections two years later, the TRS bagged 99 seats while the TDP could muster just one and BJP got four of the 150 divisions.

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The million dollar question is whether the TRS will match the GHMC election results having lured erstwhile TDP legislators into its fold and is now making them contest under its own flag. Or, will TDP in combination with Congress repeat the 2014 General Elections result. The TDP has climbed down to accept just 13 seats as part of the Grand Alliance — seven in the capital region alone, leaving constituencies where it had earlier done well to the allies — Congress and TJS.

Going by simple arithmetic, combined votes of Congress and TDP is much more than the TRS but how the dice will actually roll at the hustings is the nerve-racking story especially with independents and rebels in the fray. Another factor is parties like YSRCP, Aam Admi Party and Lok Satta are not contesting this time here so their votes too will count. After targeting Telugu Desam president and Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N. Chandrababu Naidu and calling him choicest names during his initial election meetings, Chief Minister K. Chandrasekhar Rao has moderated his tone and tenor with a direct appeal to ‘settlers’ to shed the tag since they have already become ‘Telanganites’ and “living happily in the city”.

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Chandrasekhar Rao also accused Mr. Naidu of trying to drive a wedge between Telugu people with his campaign. On the other hand, the AP CM stepped up his attack, reminding people about his contribution to Hyderabad in making it as an IT destination and questioning KCR-KTR’s contribution to the the city. Both have been drawing huge crowds.

Interestingly, Mr. Naidu decided to take up extensive campaign across the capital region till the election day after reportedly wanting to keep himself limited to a few meetings with Congress president Rahul Gandhi. #KhabarLive