By: Fatima Hasan

With the onset of general election campaign and the vigorous attempt by the regional parties to form a third federal front to take on BJP, the claim made by KCR of winning 16 Lok Sabha seats in Telangana assumes importance. It will be interesting to see what fruits the second general elections in the young Telangana State yield for it and how Telangana will play pivotal role in the formation of new government at the Centre. Unlike last time, whereby the general elections were fought on the ‘Separate Telangana’ theme, there should be a change in the TRS’ poll plank that would suit the present scenario.

The old narratives of election campaign highlighting welfare schemes, economic development and civic issues proved to be lucky for TRS in recently concluded State Assembly and gram panchayat elections. But, now in a race with national parties, TRS is expected to come up with a new agenda for the next five years. This time, the manifesto is likely to revolve around the role of the Centre in the development and growth of the young state on par with other advanced states in the country.

What would be the focus of the campaign for 2019 Lok Sabha elections now?  

This time elections are going to be a tough battle between the regional parties and the national parties and KCR is on a mission to float a federal front with other regional parties to take on both the BJP and the Congress.  As these national parties have failed to fulfil regional aspirations, there has been concentration of power at the Centre. Hence the plank would be ‘The development of the states can only be possible when the coalition of regional powers takes the reins at the Centre.’ The basic idea is to oust the bi-party system that existed for decades and delegate more powers to the states wherein the important subjects can be transferred to the state list from the concurrent list. 

How the 17 Lok Sabha seats in Telangana would make a difference in the 545-member lower House? There will be a post-poll alliance among the regional parties which are not presently aligned with the BJP or Congress. Parties like YSRCP, Biju Janata Dal, Samajwadi Party, Bahujan Samaj Party and TRS are the main players which can put up a tough fight against the BJP and Congress. The TRS is sure of winning 16 seats and the Hyderabad seat will be retained by AIMIM. The AIMIM will support TRS and campaign for the success of its candidates in the other 16 constituencies of Telangana. 

How much did Telangana develop in the last 5 years? The State has become surplus in the power sector and the  farmers-friendly policies and welfare schemes have done much for the farmers, minorities, backward classes, SCs and STs in the State. The speedy implementation of the 2014 poll promises has augmented the development of the young state but much more development has to be ensured.

Recently, on 16th March, the TRS supremo and Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao, setting the tone for Lok Sabha polls, emphasized the importance of change in power equations and in the way India is governed. This, he said, is need of the hour for the reforms in all sectors and real development of the States to realize the federal nature of Indian Constitution. Further, urging the people to vote for TRS and be the change agents, he pitched the campaign theme as ‘We need BJP and Congress-Mukt Bharat’.

In a span of 5 years from 2014 till day, Telangana saw development in agriculture, industrial, infrastructure and IT sectors and in the ease of doing business. Moreover, the grand schemes of KCR like Mission Bhagiratha, Mission Kakatiya, KCR kits, residential schools for minorities and BCs drew applause from the state governments all over the country.  Under KCR’s leadership, the State was privileged to host Global Entrepreneurship Summit.  All these helped boost the image of KCR and ensured the TRS victory in the Assembly polls in December 2018. The people of Telangana seem poised to repose their trust in KCR and we can see regional parties-led new Government at the Centre. (eom)

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