Telangana Election Result Is A Watershed Moment For Congress

Date:

The ruling TRS in Telangana won the Munugode high voltage bypoll today.

Hyderabad:

Although the ruling Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) won the Munugode election after a fierce neck-and-neck battle with the BJP, the real story from the bypoll was that of Congress.

In a state that was once a major source of electoral power and floated two consecutive terms in the center in 2004 and 2009, the election results show the party’s downward spiral.

Despite former congressional chief Sonia Gandhi often being credited with the formation of Telangana — even by TRS leader and KCR chief minister — Congress was unable to make any political gains from it in 2014, after Telangana was expelled from Andhra Pradesh.

The anger at the disunity of the state and the loss of Hyderabad caused the Congress to be wiped out in Andhra Pradesh as well.

In the 2018 elections in Telangana, the party won 19 out of 117 seats in parliament. Uttam Kumar Reddy became an MP and stepped down as MLA in 2019. That same year, 12 MLAs shifted to the ruling TRS which already had a brutal majority, leaving Congress with just six seats.

The rebels split the legislative party, evading sanctions under the Anti-Defectors Act. Congress was humiliated when it lost its opposition party status in the assembly.

It was in this setting that Munugode began to appear as a test case for the National Party to prove that it was still in reckoning in the state.

Munugode was a stronghold of the Congress, won by Komatireddy Rajagopal Reddy in 2018. Mr Reddy left the party and jumped to the BJP in August this year.

Congress elected Palvai Sravanthi, whose father had served the area for a long time. They also hoped the 1.2 lakh female voters would support her at a time when the TRS and BJP were betting heavily on liquor.

But the Congress had no money to spend against the TRS and BJP. The attention of the leadership was divided between the bypoll and the Bharat Jodo Yatra of Rahul Gandhi that passed through the state a week before the elections.

Despite being in the state, Rahul Gandhi stayed away from the Munugode campaign. Senior leaders dismissed it as “just a bypoll” – a sharp contrast to the TRS, which fought as if the survival of its government depended on it.

Even with the disclaimer that a poll can’t be considered a trendsetter for an assembly election, with Congress a distant third in Munugode, it looks like the party will lose the narrative that it’s even in the running to form the government in 2023.

Political analysts say what worked for the TRS was working with the Communist Party of India (CPI) in a meeting where the left-wing party has significant influence.

Anger at the former MLA Komatireddy Rajagopal for switching sides also helped the TRS as it won the votes of those who wanted to see him defeated.

Locals say that the votes Rajagopal got was not because of the BJP, but because of his own profile and the goodwill he earned from generous distribution of money.

Many say that if Mr Rajagopal had fought again as a congressional candidate or independently, the TRS could not have won.

For the TRS it is a double victory. They managed to keep the BJP at bay. Komatireddy Rajagopal Reddy, who along with his brother Komatireddy Venkat Reddy were a major influence in Nalgonda, was cut to size and Congress is also likely to take harsh measures, perhaps even expelling the rebel’s sibling, a senior leader and MP. .

The BJP is also unlikely to be too unhappy, even if it only lost after a good fight. They managed to come second even without a major cadres or leaders in Munugode, simply by counting on a leader who could single-handedly influence voters.

That would help them build the narrative and perception that they are in the running to challenge the TRS in the 2023 election, leaving Congress far behind.

However, a win could have given the BJP a major boost, giving the party an impulse to attract and introduce new talent from other parties, making up for the lack of cadre and leadership in the districts.

The Valley Voice
The Valley Voicehttp://thevalleyvoice.org
Christopher Brito is a social media producer and trending writer for The Valley Voice, with a focus on sports and stories related to race and culture.

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