The TRS must be wary of the BJP’s unrelenting and unexpected attack following the recent byelection victory. This is the unpleasant truth. The TRS leadership and cadre are jubilantly celebrating the victory in Telangana while BJP is strategiesfor the next political move.

There will be no relief for Telangana Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao despite his enormous attempts to squash opposition parties, particularly the Bharatiya Janata Party, according to the plain message of the Munugode Assembly byelection. The scenario is such that, even though the pink party is preparing for a hat-trick, danger signals from the BJP still exist for TRS ahead of the 2023 Assembly elections.

Despite losing the Munugodu seat, the BJP has demonstrated its tenacity. There is no longer any question as to who would compete in Telangana’s 2023 elections: TRS or BJP. Before pursuing its goal of seizing control of the youngest state in India, the BJP has always attempted to unseat the Congress in Telangana politics in order to establish itself as the main opposition in the region.

The bifurcation, which left Andhra Pradesh with a sizable Muslim minority population, brought about the situation for which the BJP had been waiting. Recall that during the first round of the National Democratic Alliance in 2000, the BJP had rejected the idea for the establishment of a separate Telangana State. The BJP had insisted on passage of a unanimous resolution by the legislative Assembly of undivided Andhra Pradesh, while citing reasons for rejecting the demand for Telangana State.

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The same BJP flip-flopped after 20 years. The BJP, though it was in the Opposition, silently watched every development related to AP’s reorganization. The BJP turned a blind eye to the implementation of the unanimous resolution adopted by a voice vote in the Andhra Pradesh Assembly rejecting the bifurcation bill sent by the Union  government. This was contrary to BJP’s stance on the formation of new states in the country.

The BJP has since sharpened its strategy in Telangana, while targeting minority people. Given BJP’s rise, from having just 2 seats to grabbing 86 seats between 1984 & 1989 elections, the All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (AMIM) had warned against  bifurcation of undivided AP on the grounds that minority people in Telangana would be targeted by BJP if TS was granted statehood. It is a different matter that today the AMIM is indirectly helping BJP to dominate its rivals in states like UP and Bihar by splitting anti-BJP vote bank in the name of shielding minorities. In the case of TS politics, AMIM has to oppose BJP for its own survival.  

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This emerging situation might cause extreme discomfort to the TRS. For, fighting the Congress as the principal opposition would have been a lot easier for TRS.There is a view among a section of BJP leaders that the party high command should not have made Komatireddy Rajagopal Reddy to resign, thereby necessitating Munugode polls. The party could have instead assigned him another job for targeting TRS ahead of the Assembly elections next year. Considering that Rajagopal Reddy did not win, it is not clear whether the BJP would dump him in the days ahead or be tolerant towards him.

Rajagopal’s brother and Congress MP Komatireddy Venkata Reddy faces a big embarrassment in view of his brother’s defeat. He has to save his face in the Congress party and no other option is left for him. The Congress leadership too may forgive him in case he tenders an apology for his remarks against the Congress’ prospects in the Munugode bypolls.

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In this context, TRS cadre and a section of party leaders are wary of the persisting dangers from BJP. As BJP appears to have attained the principal opposition party status in TS, by the time of the next Assembly elections in the state, there could be polarization of voters in line with BJP’s strategy at the national level.

In the 1998 Lok Sabha elections, when it lacked organisational clout, the BJP won two Lok Sabha seats, Kakinada and Rajahmundry. For Telangana’s next elections, the situation has altered. With a focus on its populist and social programmes, how TRS can manage the anti-incumbency sentiment is still an open question.

A state that eight years ago was born with a revenue surplus is now in trouble because of debts that almost amount Rs. 4 lakh crores KCR will find it difficult to portray himself as a capable leader in light of the aforementioned circumstances. He can enter national politics with ease if he can combat the looming threat of religious polarisation in Telangana state. #KhabarLive #hydnews #hydlive