BJP Telangana: What next in the state? The GHMC election has just concluded,but it is far from being the last election in the state for the next few months. The lotus is blooming and threatening to eclipse the INC & dislodge the ambassador for good. The BJP is bursting with confidence & the TRS is preparing itself for a new player in the game and to keep its voters together. The INC in the meantime is struggling to stay together & remain relevant in the state. It is currently in the midst of searching for a TPCC leader to lead and give the party a direction.
(Old District Map of Telangana)
In this context, there are 4 important local elections coming up in the state of Telangana in the next few months which are based in Southern & Eastern Telangana:-
A.MLC polls (Graduates)
B. Nagarjuna Sagar Assembly by polls
C. GWMC(Greater Warangal municipal corporation) elections
D. Khammam corporation elections
These 4 have been considered given the likely impact they can have on the state politics. Yes, other elections such as achampet municipality and siddipet municipality too have an impact. But i personally feel the above ones could have a tidal effect in and around some districts.
These elections are important because unlike Dubbaka(in east medak) & Hyderabad, the INC still has a lot of strength and cadre in southern-eastern telangana and thus is seen as an electoral alternative.The sail won’t be so easy for the TRS as it was 5 years ago due to rising anti incumbency against the TRS government and KCR. The BJP which already has a sizeable presence in Hyderabad & North telangana has to work hard to prove itself as a pan telangana alternative now as it is very weak and almost non existent in the 3 districts of eastern telangana.
A) MLC Polls
MLC means Member for legislative council, the state of telangana has a legislative council comprising of 40 members (34 elected+6 nominated)
The forthcoming MLC polls will be conducted to fill 2 seats from the graduates constituencies of Hyderabad-Rangareddy-Mahbubnagar(HRM) and Nalgonda-Warangal-Khammam (NWK) graduates’ constituencies whose current sitting MLCs (whose terms will expire soon) are N Ramachander Rao(BJP) & Palla Rajeshwar Reddy (TRS) respectively.
The only eligible electors from the graduates constituency are those who have been graduates from any university in India for at least 3 years before November 1st, 2020 & reside in those constituencies.
N Ramachander Rao won not just due to the months long hard work he put in,but also due to voters of Andhra origin and Congress transferring their votes to him to ensure the TRS’ defeat.
Enrolment of graduate voters has been going on for the last few weeks & the TRS is eager to win both seats.
Kadiyam Srihari (SC leader,ex deputy CM), Bonthu Rammohan (Ex mayor Hyderabad) & Ponguleti Srinivas Reddy (ex MP khammam) are some of the TRS aspirants. Whether TRS will field Palla Rajeshwar Reddy again is not certain at this stage.
The INC leaders too fancy their chances as anti incumbency against the TRS is high among many graduates and teachers as the recent elections have shown. Ex MLA Jeevan Reddy's victory by 40000 votes just 3 months after the assembly elections last year too has given hope to many of them.
The BJP is expected to field N Ramachander Rao again from HRM constituency. Influential and well known independents like M Kodandaram and teenmar mallanna too are expected to contest this time.
Watch this space for more updates.
B) Nagarjuna sagar by polls
Nagarjuna Sagar is a constituency which borders Andhra Pradesh and is part of Nalgonda district. It is separated from AP by the Krishna river. The TRS won this seat in 2018 but after the passing away of the MLA Nonnula Narasimhaiah on December 4th, it is obvious there will be a by election here soon.
This election is a MUST WIN for the Congress to show that old Nalgonda district is still a Congress adda and that they are still prominent in Telangana. If the TRS wins this, it can successfully turn around the perception that people are turning against it. The BJP’s aim will be to come number 2 as unlike Dubbaka or the GHMC ,it has no base or strong leader to count upon to secure the anti incumbency vote.
The Tallest leader in this constituency is K Jana Reddy ,a long time INC stalwart,ex-minister & powerful leader in the district who has won 5 out of 7 times from this area losing twice in 1994 & 2018. Jana Reddy’s son Raghuveer reddy is expected to contest on the Congress banner this time in his first election.
Nagarjuna sagar was a constituency created after the 2008 delimitation.
As you can see, INC may never have crossed 50% in this constituency but its still an INC area by default. In the last 5 elections,INC was the SLP 4 times and it won more votes in this constituency compared to the TRS in 2019!
But there is also considerable opposition to Jana Reddy here especially among BCs which is why in 2018,tdp votes did not get transferred to the INC despite an alliance.
This means this constituency is not out of the reach for the INC as long as Jana reddy is part of the party.
The old TDP votebase of BCs(especially Yadavs) has mostly shifted to the TRS, the INC base is composed of Reddys & SCs.
The swing votes are expected to be the STs(mostly lambadas) and BCs.
This constituency also had a considerable left wing support(CPI) and workers on ground till sometime back.Whether it still exists or not I can’t say, the recently deceased TRS mla was of a leftwing background.
And despite the MLA passing away barely a week back, the Congress and TRS have already started poll preparations.
The State government has announced 600 crores worth of construction works related to irrigation projects within the constituency. It has also decided to open a government degree college within the constituency.
There is talk of a ‘Special development plan’ being prepared for the constituency by the TRS and has held teleconferences with local leaders. All problems & pending of the constituency have been placed before KCR.
After dubbaka nothing is being taken for granted by the TRS. KCR is yet to decide a candidate and is still going through all prospective candidates.
The INC is doing what it can to hold on to K Jana Reddy,not just that it needs to have a strong aggressive leader who can attract crowds as its TPCC chief to campaign in this area and show that it can not only fight for the constituency but also take on the TRS.
Komatireddy Venkat Reddy,ex MLA from nalgonda and current MP from Bhongir has already made it clear that the burden of victory in nagarjuna sagar falls upon him.It is worthwhile mentioning that he also is a strong TPCC president probable and a very strong leader in the area.
Uttam kumar reddy,MP from Nalgonda too is expected to campaign and work hard for INC’s victory here.
As of now their plan is to convince K jana reddy to join BJP,unlike dubbaka they have no leader here and unlike Hyderabad they have no history or cadre here.
C)GWMC (Greater Warangal Municipal Corporation) Elections
Warangal is the second largest city in Telangana with a population of more than 8 lakhs. Warangal city and its adjoining areas/suburbs are growing fast and was witnessing increased economic activities pre-covid. By virtue of being centrally located in the state ,it is well connected by rail and road.
It is home to a NIT and is making steady progress in the field of information technology . It is the district headquarters of Warangal rural and urban district.
The municipal corporation was upgraded to a ‘Greater Corporation’ in 2015 by the Telangana government.
The Warangal corporation has more than 6 lakh voters 7 and comprises an area of 407 sq km.
As per the 2011 census, 83.41% of Warangal is Hindu with Muslims comprising 14.39% and Christians at 1.65%.
The corporation holds around 58 wards. 19 wards are reserved for BCs ,9 for SCs & 2 for Sts with 28 belonging to Open category. BCs are the majority of the city forming at least 55%+ of the population.
The seat of the next mayor of Warangal has been reserved for BCs(general).
It witnessed a voter turnout of 60.3% in 2016.
The present mayor of the city is Gunda Prakash Rao and the deputy mayor is Khaja Sirajuddin both of whom belong to the TRS
The TRS swept the election here, this was no surprise as Warangal city & Kakatiya university were one of the focal points of the Telangana movement protests and agitations which lead to the formation of Telangana State. This made the city a TRS fortress by nature . Most of the TDP cadre and voters shifted loyalties by 2014 itself to the TRS. Both these seats were contested by the BJP in 2014.
Both mlas in Warangal(Warangal east & Warangal west) belong to the TRS along with the MP.
The BJP which supported the formation of TG will be looking to outdo its performance compared to last time and get more than the Congress which needs to win a respectable number to retain its leaders here.
As you can see, the BJP increased its performance by 10% in the lok sabha election despite having a weak base and losing some workers to TRS tills 2018. Its base has strengthened now thanks to defections from what was left of Warangal TDP unit & some Warangal congress leaders.
There is anti incumbency among youth and teachers just like in Hyderabad. It is yet to be seen how all parties plan to deal or take advantage of it. There is a lot of discontentment among people over the LRS which hurt the TRS heavily in the GHMC polls.
The TRS is counting upon Minister Errabelli Dayakar Rao along with its MLAs to lead the party to victory here along with the local MLAs and needs to win heavily over here to prove that Warangal city is still its fortress. It has made overtures to BCs and minorities.
The TRS has to deal with anti incumbency against some incumbent corporators to retain this municipality.
The Warangal Congress will be depending upon its DCC president Naini Rajender reddy to lead them forward along with the new TPCC chief who should be decided within a month.
The BJP buoyed and enthused by its recent success in the GHMC plans a statewide yatra lead by Bandi Sanjay to win over youth and core telangana voters from the TRS. Kishen reddy visiting the city today will discuss the strategy with the cadre and local leaders.
Be prepared to see BJP and TRS leaders argue over how much help the city has received from the Union Government.
Just like Hyderabad,the BJP will try to take Telangana BC voters away from the TRS in large numbers.
D) KMC (Khammam municipal corporation)
Khammam is the 4th largest city in Telangana and lies in the easternmost part of Telangana. It lies alongside the Munneru river. Unlike Warangal or most of North Telangana which was a hotbed of the Telangana movement, Khammam belonged to the polar opposite. Khammam district is right besides Andhra Pradesh and despite being part of telangana before independence, the city and the district is closer to Amaravati than to Hyderabad by road and by culture.
The Municipality was upgraded to a corporation in 2012. The Khammam municipal corporation has a voter electorate of more than 2.40 lakhs and covers an area of 94.37 square kms. The city holds a sizeable proportion of Kammas,Muslims and BC voters. It holds around 50 divisions, 2 seats are reserved for STs,6 for SCs & 17 for BCs. The position of the next mayor of khammam will be OC-female.The current mayor is Guguloth Papalal (ST) and Deputy Mayor is Bathula Murali Prasad.
Khammam district was once & still has strong communist presence including the city and the Kamma community is considered to be very influential in the city & district.
The assembly seat contains Khammam municipal corporation & some outskirt areas.
Khammam city and district was against bifurcation and hence YSRCP and TDP were very strong here. YSRCP which was openly pro United AP won khammam LS seat. The reason why TDP got less votes in the assembly compared to the Lok Sabha was because both the TDP candidates worked hard to sabotage each other as they shared a mutual dislike of each other. TRS was quite weak here with barely 7% of the votes, even the CPI has performed better in the khammam assembly compared to it. KCR noticed this, he and his son worked hard to change it and they succeeded.
TRS engineered large scale defections from the opposition starting with Tummala Nageswara Rao. They made heavy inroads among the local BCs,STs,Velamas and Kammas. Led by KTR & Tummala Nageswara rao, TRS convinced the people of the importance of a double engine government and hence they won a majority of 34 wards. The TRS performed well among forward castes and BCs.
The registered voter turnout was 67.68%
An opposition in chaos couldn’t win. TDP lost many leaders to TRS and BJP lost its deposit in 10/11 wards. YSRCP hurt the Congress party in some segments. After these results, Puvvada Ajay Kumar defected to the TRS. Ponguleti Srinivas Reddy and the rest of the YSRCP unit in Telangana merged outright with the TRS.
The TRS convinced cadre and leaders from TDP,INC,YSRCP and the Left to join them throughout old Khammam district. Now let us look at the 2018 Assembly and 2019 LS results
What this shows is a complete turnaround in the fortunes of the TRS as we can see, a LS seat and assembly seat where it couldn’t retain its deposits 5 years back. It performed better in the Khammam Lok Sabha and Assembly despite losing its North Telangana strongholds of Nizamabad and Karimnagar.
After the 2018 results, Nama Nageswara Rao joined the TRS. Both the leading candidates in the assembly seat are Kammas, this is a measure of the power and influence this community holds here.
The TRS in new Khammam district has 4 major camps lead by 4 leaders.
1)Tummala Nageswara Rao,ex minister and ex mla
2)Nama Nageswara Rao ,MP
3)Puvvada Ajay Kumar,Transport minister
4)Ponguleti Srinivas Reddy, ex MP.
Even though Puvvada Ajay Kumar has taken the lead in ensuring a TRS victory and KTR is expected to campaign here, all major camps and leaders have to be satisfied and work in coordination to ensure a TRS victory..
KTR has already met Ponguleti Srinivas Reddy who rumours say has been contacted by BJP. Tummala Nageswara Rao has already made it clear he won’t leave TRS as of now. Those who have read the MLC polls part above will see that Ponguleti is aspiring for a MLC seat. KTR too has been working hard to expand and get some IT companies here.
INC is the primary opposition here and CLP leader Mallu Bhatti Vikramarka is expected to play an important role here in the campaigning of the INC. They plan to take advantage of unemployment, anger over LRS and anti incumbency against TRS to win this corporation.
The TDP and Left still have a sizeable amount of cadre and voters here and are expected to work hard to attain a respectable number of seats. The TDP will be counting upon its lone MLA in the district Mecha Nageswara Rao to campaign here and may even get the TDP supremo or his son to campaign over here. The YSRCP is not expected to contest here despite putting up a decent performance just 6 years ago.
The BJP is expected to convince leaders of other parties to defect to it and will bring up local issues to win over anti incumbent voters. Unlike Hyderabad, Hindutva is not expected to have many takers over here as relations between Muslims and Hindus is amicable