TRS retains Telangana, crushes Congress

Mohammed Shafeeq   |  Hyderabad


Riding high on Telangana pride and welfare schemes, Chief Minister K. Chandrashekhar Rao led his Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) to a thumping victory, crushing the Congress-led alliance in India's youngest state.

Beating all expectations of pre-poll surveys and exit polls, the TRS appeared set to win a whopping 77 seats in the 119-member Assembly, triggering wild celebrations by party leaders as well as activists all over the state.

The gamble for early polls appeared to have paid rich dividends for the regional party as it bagged 77 seats and was leading in 10 constituencies.

The Congress-led People's Front, which was expected to give a tough fight to TRS, won only 17 seats and was leading in five places.

TRS chief and Chief Minister K. Chandrashekhar Rao was re-elected from Gajwel constituency. His son K.T. Rama Rao and nephew Harish Rao also retained Sircilla and Siddipet seats. 

A jubilant Chief Minister told the media that he would work to evolve an alternative to both the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and the Congress with a new economic model. 

"Grateful, indebted and humbled. Thanks Telangana for keeping the faith in KCR Garu and giving us another opportunity to serve you," tweeted Rama Rao, his son and a Minister.

KCR's daughter and TRS MP K. Kavitha said there was no anti-incumbency as the TRS government had done well on all fronts during the last four-and-a-half years.

"KCR's hard work has paid off," said Kavitha, adding that it was both welfare programmes and Telangana pride which worked for the party in this election.

TRS bagged 63 seats in 2014 but increased its tally to 90 with over two dozens MLAs from other parties crossing over to the ruling party. It fielded all sitting legislators and most of them retained their seats.

TRS recorded massive victory in all the regions. Barring Khammam district, it made almost a clean sweep in north Telangana and dominated south Telangana. It also made huge inroads in Greater Hyderabad, where the TDP-BJP alliance had won most seats in the previous election.

Since the dissolution of the Assembly, KCR had been confident of winning over 100 seats. While many had dismissed this as over-confidence, his prophecy came true with the TRS almost hitting the target with its ally AIMIM.

TDP, which won 15 seats in 2014, was ahead in just two segments. The BJP, which had 5 seats in the dissolved Assembly, won only one seat.

Many top leaders of the Congress including those Chief Minister candidates were defeated. They include floor leader in the dissolved Assembly K. Jana Reddy, state working presidents Revanth Reddy and Ponnam Prabhakar and former central Minister Sarve Satyanarayana.

The Congress, which bagged 21 seats in 2014, may finish with a tally of 20. The Telangana Jana Samithi (TJS) and Communist Party of India (CPI), two other constituents of People's Front, drew a blank.

The All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (AIMIM) won four seats and was leading in three. Thus it appeared set to retain all seven seats. 

As many as 73.20 per cent of 2.80 crore electorate voted in the elections held in all 119 constituencies on Friday.

KCR dissolved the Assembly in September, eight months before its term was to end.

Initially focussing on welfare and development schemes, KCR made Telangana pride a key issue when the TDP joined hands with the Congress.

Portraying TDP President and Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N. Chandrababu Naidu as an enemy of Telangana's interests, the TRS chief had urged people not to allow outsiders to decide their future. - IANS