Predicting the winner of the 2023 Telangana Legislative Assembly election has become a challenging task given the current political landscape and the various factors at play.

The ruling Bharat Rashtra Samithi (BRS) led by Chief Minister K. Chandrashekhar Rao (KCR) is facing a tough challenge from a united opposition comprising the Congress, Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), and All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (AIMIM).

The BRS has been in power since the state’s formation in 2014, and KCR remains a popular figure among the masses. However, the party has faced criticism for its handling of the state’s economy and farmers’ issues. The opposition parties are capitalizing on these grievances, promising better governance and a more inclusive development approach.

The BJP, under the leadership of State President Bandi Sanjay Kumar, has been aggressively campaigning in the state, focusing on Hindutva and national security issues. It is seeking to consolidate its support among the Hindutva-leaning voters, particularly in the northern Telangana region.

The AIMIM, led by Asaduddin Owaisi, is a significant player in the Telangana political arena, particularly in the Hyderabad and the old city areas. The party is expected to play a crucial role in influencing the outcome of the election, as it holds a strong hold on the Muslim vote bank.

The Congress, the main opposition party, has been struggling to regain its lost glory in Telangana. Rahul Gandhi, the party’s national leader, has been actively campaigning in the state, hoping to galvanize the party’s support base.

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Meanwhile, this year Elections are going to be a different ball game. Unlike in the previous two elections in 2014 and 2018, this time around the electorate is sending mixed signals.

Just nine days are there for the curtains to be pulled down on the campaign but neither BRS nor Congress is 100% confident of an absolute majority, though for public consumption all claim that they are going to come to power.

The most interesting part is that even in Gajwel, where Chief Minister K Chandrashekar Rao is contesting, the reaction from the voters is a mixed one. They are so diverse that even the pollsters are left confused. Some villagers feel their representatives do not convey their problems to the Chief Minister and that is affecting the development of their villages.

There are others who have lost land under various irrigation projects but got handsome compensation and received other benefits and are happy with the government.

In many key constituencies, whether it be Khammam or Palair, the contest seems to be a keen one. BRS working president KTR said this election has become like the World Cup 2023 and that like Kohli, the BRS would hit a century.

Well whether BRS would hit a century like Kohli in his earlier ODI matches or will it be over half a century like the Ahmedabad one needs to be watched. Kohli on two occasions achieved triple figure scores which helped him take down Sachin Tendulkar’s mighty record for most ODIs ever. TRS, too, had got absolute majority twice since the formation of Telangana. But on Sunday, Australian captain Pat Cummins silenced the Ahmedabad crowd by disrupting Kohli’s hopes.

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Will Congress prove to be Cummins? The way the Telangana government has launched a media campaign focussing on Congress party’s poll promises and comparing them with the situation that prevailed in the region before 2014 and the “pathetic” conditions in Karnataka, where Congress has come to power recently, indicate that the ruling party is certainly concerned over the tough fight it is facing.

Normally, the BRS used to set the agenda and other parties used to follow it. But now the Congress seems to have pushed the ruling party into defensive situation where it has been forced to do a lot of explanation and present comparative picture of development before and after 2014. While it is felt that a lot of money may change hands on the eve of elections, the Election Commission needs a word of praise as it has been maintaining tight vigil and to a great extent succeeded in controlling the supply of liquor in various bastis in the state till date.

If it can maintain the same tempo till November 30 and restrict distribution of money, then the result would indicate the real mood of the people. All parties have laid special emphasis on the last-minute poll management and ensure that the voter turnout would be maximum. Whatever it might mean!

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Some leaders in districts tried theatrics like preparing dosas at roadside eateries or bathing an elderly person for the sake of social media propaganda, though they drew some flak as the old man pleaded with them to stop it.

What the leaders need to understand is that now we are in an era of Artificial Intelligence and such old tactics won’t work. When it comes to manifestos, the BRS had given many add-ons to its present welfare schemes and announced hike in the direct cash transfer schemes like Rythu Bandhu etc.

On the other hand, the Congress promise of Rs 5 lakh as Vidya Bharosa and other promises have certainly made the rural voters ponder over the assurances.

The BJP, as Vijayashanti had rightly said, has deliberately allowed itself to lose whatever ground it had gained till the middle of 2023. The visit of top leaders and their allegations against the Chief Minister and the government are not cutting any ice with the voters.

All this makes this Assembly election an interesting case study for analysts. So far none is able to say Kuan Jeetega, Kaun Harega.

The 2023 Telangana elections are expected to be a closely contested battle, with no clear frontrunner. The outcome will depend on the dynamics of the various factors and the ability of the parties to mobilize their respective voter bases. ■ #hydnews #khabarlive #hydkhabar

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A senior journalist having 25 years of experience in national and international publications and media houses across the globe in various positions. A multi-lingual personality with desk multi-tasking skills. He belongs to Hyderabad in India. Ahssanuddin's work is driven by his desire to create clarity, connection, and a shared sense of purpose through the power of the written word. His background as an writer informs his approach to writing. Years of analyzing text and building news means that adapting to a reporting voice, tone, and unique needs comes as second nature.