Telangana Elections 2018: A neck to neck fight between TRS and Mahakutami

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Telangana, India’s youngest state, goes to polls on December 7 and the counting of votes will be taken up four days later on December 11, following a tight contest. The Congress and Chandrababu Naidu’s Telugu Desam Party have teamed up to take on Chief Minister K Chandrashekar Rao, who is seeking a second term.

After the Telangana Rashtra Samiti (TRS) leader and Chief Minister K Chandrashekar Rao dissolved the assembly before its term, the TRS thought it will be an easy win for them again. But after Congress-TDP alliance the picture has now changed the electoral landscape of the Telangana. The seat-sharing between the four opposition parties has not been announced, but leaders who are part of the talks said that the only consideration will be the candidate’s winning capability.

According to political pundits, it will be a close contest between TRS, the ruling party and Mahakutami, the united opposition (Congress + TDP + TJS + CPI). The rumours of a possible hung assembly and state’s relatively smaller players such as the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and the Asaduddin Owaisi-led All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (AIMIM) could play ‘kingmakers’.

Political pundits are also not very hopeful about the chances of the TJS, the political wing of the Telangana Joint Action Committee (TJAC) led by Prof M. Kodandaram, who had spearheaded the statehood agitation along with KCR, but is a bitter critic of KCR’s policies.

Though on ground there isn’t much of anti-incumbency, but KCR compromised with poll promises and people are somewhat angry with KCR policies and autocracy in administration, corruption in Revenue and R&B, Agriculture departments.

Meanwhile BJP is up to an interesting game; a tacit alliance with the TRS. This is because BJP has no solid base in Telangana. KCR has promised to Modi: make me the satrap here and I’ll support you at the Centre. But Modi’s men led by Amit Shah are blasting KCR in Telangana.

The Congress-TDP coalition in Telangana — it is the first time the two parties are joining hands — is being keenly watched as the precipitator for a grand alliance at the Centre for the 2019 general elections. The TRS does not appear to be facing any large anti-incumbency as KCR is seen as having been one of the main forces behind the creation of the state and has been in power only for the last four-and-half years. But one of the opinion polls have given Congress-TDP alliance an edge over TRS, which can lead to a nightmare for K Chandrashekar Rao.

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