16 Lok Sabha seats for TRS: Overconfidence or Possibility?

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Hyderabad, March 7: TRS leaders, including Chief Minister K. Chandrashekhar Rao and TRS Working President K. Tarakarama Rao, have been making claims that their party would win 16 out of 17 Lok Sabha seats in next Lok Sabha elections. The remaining one seat of Hyderabad, they claim, would be won by their ally MIM.

TRS has recently won 88 out of 119 seats in the recently held Assembly elections. With two independents joining the party, its strength increased to 90. Last week three legislators, Rega Kantha Rao and Athram Sakku of Congress party and Sandra Venkat Veeraiah of TDP, defected to TRS. AIMIM is already an ally of TRS. Therefore, the strength of TRS in Assembly has increased to 100. Congress party is now left with just 17 MLAs while BJP and TDP are left with one legislator each. With strong backing by MLAs, TRS claims of winning 16 seats look a strong possibility.

On the other side, Congress party is still a divided house suffering with leadership and confidence deficit. Although there are many contenders for Congress tickets in almost all constituencies, not many of them appear confident of winning the elections. Congress is still lagging behind TRS which already launched its campaign.

BJP, whose tally got reduced from five seats in last Assembly to just one in the recently held polls, is confident of putting up a good performance in Lok Sabha elections. However, except for a few seats like Secunderabad, the party doesn’t look strong elsewhere.

The Left parties (CPI and CPM) are lost in oblivion in Telangana. None of them can win a single seat without having an alliance with the Congress or other parties.

In this scenario, TRS looks confident of sweeping the elections. However, the scene from a critical angle shows that TRS claims are not only hollow, but exhibits a high degree of over-confidence and arrogance. The victory of pink party in last Assembly elections was mired in several controversies and allegations of poll irregularities. Deletion of over 22 lakh voters, mismatch in number of votes polled and those counted in EVMs, misuse of official machinery, etc., are some of the allegations levelled by the opposition parties. Therefore, the election authorities will be more cautious to avoid similar allegations in Lok Sabha polls.

Further, with 93 MLAs in 119-member House, TRS is oversized. In the absence of a proper organisational structure, it will be difficult for the top leadership to control and regulate all legislators at the ground level. There is a huge imbalance of caste in the party. For the same reason, KCR was unable to constitute the Council of Ministers for over two months after declaration of results. Even now, there are six vacancies in the cabinet.

With every MLA eyeing a berth in the cabinet or a nominated post, it will be difficult for the Chief Minister to satisfy all. Therefore, in all likelihood, there will be huge dissent and covert activities within the party.

Fortunately for TRS, there is still no groupism within the party. But with KCR giving clear hints that he might shift to national politics after Lok Sabha elections, the newly elected MLAs would try to side with KTR, Harish Rao or Kavitha. This groupism may not be open, but it will be imminent in near future.

The election campaign will take drastic twists and turns in the next few days after the announcement of poll schedule. With Prime Minister Narender Modi and Congress president Rahul Gandhi in focus, TRS might not be able withstand its campaign centred around regionalism as KCR is still not a match for Narender Modi or Rahul Gandhi.

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