Telangana cannot be wished away, shows bypoll

Hyderabad: The writing on the wall has become clearer for the ruling Congress and principal opposition Telugu Desam Party in Andhra Pradesh: they are facing a serious survival threat and the demand for a separate Telangana state cannot be wished away.

Results of the by-elections to seven Assembly seats saw Congress and TDP, which refused to acknowledge the Telangana factor, drawing a blank today and clearly establishing that fortunes of these two major parties are on the wane, a warning signal ahead of another round of by-polls to 18 assembly constituencies in the next few months.

Also, the resounding success of the Telangana Rashtra Samiti at the cost of the Congress and the TDP reaffirms the importance of the Telangana movement.

Last but not the least, victory of YSR Congress candidate N Prasanna Kumar Reddy in Kovur in coastal Andhra region could be an indicator of things to come.

That the “Telangana sentiment” won in the six segments in the region need not be re-emphasised. The TRS (four), the BJP (one) and even the lone Independent candidate won on the Telangana plank.

It was a morale-boosting victory for the BJP in the single seat it contested in Mahbubnagar where it beat the TRS by a margin of 1897 votes, leaving the Congress and the TDP in third and fourth positions.

The BJP could win the voters’ confidence by convincing them that it alone could deliver a separate state.

The BJP got the better of TRS despite the fact that the latter too was “championing” the cause of separate state.

“We could convince people that Telangana state is possible only through BJP and hence they voted for us,” party state president G Kishan Reddy noted.

On a personal front, it’s a serious setback for TRS chief K Chandrasekhar Rao as he could not ensure victory of his party candidate in the Mahbubnagar Lok Sabha constituency he represents.

The government employees, who have been playing a key part in the statehood movement, appeared to have reposed their faith in the BJP rather than the TRS, thereby turning the tide against KCR.

The Mahbubnagar result could well mark the resurgence of BJP at least in the Telangana region in the state, a factor that may be detrimental to the TRS in future.

The saving grace for the ruling party was the second position it secured in four out of six segments in Telangana while the TDP was relegated to the third place in four seats.

Only in Station Ghanpur did the TDP manage to finish as the runner-up but in Mahbubnagar it ended up a distant fourth.

So severe was the drubbing for TDP that its candidates lost deposits in Kamareddy and Nagarkurnool segments.

Ironically, these two seats were won by the TDP in 2009 but the MLAs quit the party last year protesting its ambivalent stand on the statehood issue.

The TDP also lost the Adilabad seat which it previously held.

For the Congress, it was a loss of two seats – Station Ghanpur and Kollapur — as its MLAs defected to the TRS late last year, protesting the Centre’s dilly-dallying on Telangana.

In all, the TDP lost six MLAs since 2009, bringing its tally down from 92 to 86 in the state Assembly.

The principal opposition did not win a single seat in the by-elections to 18 seats in all in Telangana in 2010 and now.

With the victory of four candidates in the by-elections, the TRS’ head count will rise to 16 besides an associate member while the BJP’s strength increases to three.

The YSR Congress will have two MLAs in the House, including its honorary president Y S Vijaya. [PTI]

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