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Opinion | Assembly Elections 2018: Why Telangana results matter more

For the TRS, it’s a do-or-die battle. If K Chandrashekar Rao wins a second term, he consolidates his position in India’s newest state. If booted out of power, KCR will have little political turf left

Viju Cherian @VijuCherian

Viju Cherian

The assembly elections to the five states of Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh, Mizoram, Rajasthan and Telangana have been called “semi-finals”, a “battle royale”, etc. — and rightly so.

The importance of elections in a democracy needs no reiteration. However, the results from these five states are crucial when the impending Parliament polls are taken into account. They will indicate as to what could be in store for the political parties in the 2019 general elections — and that is why the results in Telangana matter. Among the five states, the Telangana results will have the greatest impact on regional politics and will decide the different permutations and combinations among political parties going into 2019.

The results from the three Hindi heartland states (Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan) will tell if the Congress has been able to breach into the BJP’s citadel. However, a win for the Congress in one or two states does not guarantee a favourable verdict in the general elections, because voters are known to vote differently for the assembly and general elections. The verdict from Mizoram will determine if the Congress gets to keep a toehold in the Northeast.

The Telangana results will show how much of a factor the BJP is in the state — after all, it is contesting 118 of the 119 seats. This election will also show if statehood sentiments are still an electoral factor the way they were in 2014.

The Telangana results will determine the fate of the Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS), and that of the grand alliance. It is these two factors that make the state results critical.

For the TRS it’s a do-or-die battle. If K Chandrashekar Rao wins a second term, not only will he consolidate his position in India’s newest state, but will also get the momentum to form an anti-BJP, anti-Congress alliance for the general elections. This will increase Rao’s relevance in New Delhi.

If booted out of power, KCR will have little political turf left. He will be approaching the 2019 polls on the back foot and would even be forced to turn to the BJP.

Watch | Telangana Polls Explained in 3 Minutes

If the Prajakutami or Congress-TDP-TJS-CPI grand alliance wins the polls, it would be a shot in the arm for the anti-BJP opposition going into the 2019 polls. Telugu Desam Party (TDP) chief and Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu’s efforts of uniting regional parties against the BJP will gather critical momentum. The win will also encourage other regional parties to form state-specific alliances with the Congress.

If the Prajakutami loses the election, it will cripple efforts for a Mahagathbandhan. This will not only be a blow for the Congress but will also leave regional parties scattered in their efforts to counter the BJP wave across India.

This is why the Telangana results matter more — for almost every major political party, the results will lay the blueprint on how to strategise for the 2019 polls.

For more Opinion pieces, click here.

Assembly Elections 2018: Read the latest news, views and analysis here
First Published on Dec 6, 2018 04:54 pm
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