As campaigning for election in Telangana entered the last 24 hours on Monday the key parties, including the ruling BRS, put in all their resources to attract voters with promises ranging from welfare schemes that include farm loan waivers, higher pensions, loans for backward classes and more government jobs.
Voting on Thursday would mark the culmination of balloting process in five states whose result will be declared on 3 December, setting the tone for fresh strategies and realignments for the 2024 Lok Sabha.
The result on 3 December will also determine the path that K Chandrasekhar Rao controlled BRS shall play in an anti-BJP grouping. If KCR decides to focus on national politics in 2024, his son K T Rama Rao is expected to handle affairs in the state.
With the election in Telangana being a direct fight between the ruling BRS and the Congress, the BJP, as the third player, is seeing itself in a position to disturb the apple cart of both the main rivals.
The BJP’s vote share has been on the rise in the state from 6.98 per cent in the 2018 assembly election to 19.65 per cent in the 2019 Lok Sabha elections. The more the number of seats that the BJP manages to win in the current election, the more the chance of the contest yielding a hung assembly.
The BJP had won just one seat in Telangana assembly in 2018 but since then it has managed to spread its network in the state. The BJP won four Lok Sabha seats in the state in 2019.
The 3.17 crore voters in the state will vote on Thursday in 119 seats, out of which 31 are reserved for SC/ST candidates. According to the Election Commission 1.2 lakh polling centres have been identified as critical.
Meanwhile on the penultimate day of campaigning, the ruling BRS received a setback with the EC withdrawing permission to Telangana government for disbursements of financial aid to farmers for rabi crops under the Rythu Bandhu Scheme after state minister T. Harish Rao violated the poll code by making a public announcement about it.
The poll body, in a notification, said that there shall be no disbursement under the scheme till the model code of conduct in the state of Telangana ceases to apply.
Apart from the Kamareddy seat in North Telangana where a prestige battle is unfolding between the Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao or KCR and Congress’s Revanth Reddy, a key contest is lined up in Sircilla constituency where K T Rama Rao, son of Telangana CM and working president of BRS, is contesting for the fourth time.
KTR owes his electoral success to the weavers’ community called ‘Padmashalis’, who are dominant in Sircilla constituency. While there are signs of discontent among a section of young voters over lack of job opportunities, KTR’s connection with the electors is likely to help him emerge as a winner this time as well.
Though the issue of suicides among weavers appears to have died down, the community still has high expectations from the Bathukamma Saree scheme the was launched in 2017 with the goal to support the weavers. The weavers claim that at present they get employment under the scheme for just three months in a year. They want the scheme to benefit them through the year.
Congress leaders alleged the youth are not happy with the ruling party for not keeping its word on poll promises. For example, despite making a promise of providing 12 lakh jobs the ruling party managed to provide only 12,000-13000 jobs in the state in the last nine years, alleged a Congress leader.
KTR, the political heir of KCR’s legacy, is also looking to consolidate his position as the CM-in-waiting with his fourth straight win from the constituency. KTR began his political career in 2009 when he contested the Andhra Pradesh Legislative Assembly Elections from the Sircilla Assembly constituency. He won by a close margin of 171 votes, defeating independent candidate K. K. Mahender Reddy.
In 2014, KTR defeated Congress candidate Konduru Ravinder Rao with a massive margin of over 53,000 votes. In 2018, he won in Sircilla for the third consecutive time with a margin of over 89,000 votes. In this constituency, there are a total of 1,84,427 voters , which includes 91,139 male voters, and 93,275 female voters.
In the 2018 Telangana assembly elections, Sircilla recorded a voter turnout of 80.57%. In 2014 the turnout was 73.62%. Sircilla constituency is part of the Karimnagar Lok Sabha constituency. Sircilla comes under Rajanna Sircilla district and the North Telangana region of Telangana. It is categorised as a rural seat.