K. Jayadev

The Year 2017, in Telangana, belonged to KCR all the way. He dominated the political scenario and strode the political stage with no rivals in sight. But his soft corner for his family and constant carping at opposition is making him yet another politician who has his eyes on 2019. While TRS and KCR are confident, the Congress Party seems to be slowly gaining momentum and is surely likely to pose a more serious challenge to the ruling TRS in 2019 elections.

“The election feel has come and this time it has begun early while we still have two years for elections. For some reason everyone is actively preparing for the election." These words of Telangana Joint Action Committee (TJAC) Chairman Kondandaram sum up the political mood in the state.

Telangana Rastra Samithi (TRS) and CM K Chandrashekar Rao are on a poll spree with a long list of goodies being announced for people at whim. From the day they ascended the chair of power in Telangana, they have been working on a clear plan to win the confidence of people by putting in place welfare schemes for the people, create newer opportunities, better power supply, build on brand Hyderabad and reformulate pro-farmer policies, among other things. This has pepped up party cadres and the TRS now looks very confident.

The confidence levels have definitely gone to the head of its leader, KCR, he says, “We've done more than what we promised in the 2014 election manifesto. What we have delivered in our rule is something nobody could have even imagined." Although the pro-Telangana sentiment continues to be alive, the ruling TRS cannot afford to face the next election with that plank alone. The TRS emerged on the political scene following the combined failure of the TDP and Congress, as well the inability on the part of both the parties to recognize growing sub-regional aspirations, especially with respect to Telangana.

KCR has made it a point to keep his cadre happy and has gone ahead with appointments for nominated posts. He has managed to get TDP leaders defect into TRS fold through tall colossal promises and MLA tickets, never mind the ethical dimension to the issue. Simultaneously, KCR is trying hard to not allow Congress assert the credit for Telangana state formation.

Congress gaining ground...

The Congress is slowly gaining its momentum in the state. Thanks to the misrule and misuse of government machinery by incumbent government, it is giving ground for Congress to catch up (which otherwise would be out of sight in the two Telugu states).

Meanwhile, Congress is not left behind. It has got two “firebrand” political angels to its rescue. Both Revanth Reddy (who defected from TDP) and Vijayashanti (earlier with TRS) are known for their unconcealed anger towards KCR, and it looks like the Congress run for 2019 will be led by these two and aptly supported by a line-up of veterans.

Interestingly, TRS has given scope for Congress to accuse the party of dynasty rule. KCR has been obviously promoting his daughter, Kavitha (MP from Nizamabad) and son, IT minister K Taraka Rama Rao, minister in state cabinet. He also has his close relative Harish Rao holding the important portfolio of irrigation. This has come under severe criticism and given opportunity for opposition to attack him.

In the final analysis, the year has been dominated by TRS and KCR, but it is also the year which has given scope for Congress to gain lost ground, instigate TJAC leader Kodandaram to look at a political career. The big question at the end of the year is, has KCR allowed the grass to grow under his feet?