State Demand minus Public Issues – Failed TRS జూన్ 12, 2008Posted by Telangana Utsav in elections, In News, politics, TDP, Telangana, TRS.
Telangana alive, despite TRS defeat
By Lalita Iyer
When he described the byelections as a “life and death” question for Telangana people, Telangana Rashtra Samithi leader K. Chandrasekhar Rao did not know it was going to be more a question of death, than life, for his party. The TRS suffered a heavy blow in the byelections, losing nine of 16 Assembly seats and two of four Lok Sabha seats it had held. The Congress added five to its tally and the Telugu Desam Party four, and they shared two Parliament seats.
By resigning its seats in the Assembly and Lok Sabha, the TRS had sought a referendum through the byelections, on its demand for a separate Telangana state. Rao retained his Karimnagar seat in the Lok Sabha, with a massively reduced margin of 15,765 votes against the two lakh in the 2006 byelection. A distraught Rao, accepting moral responsibility for the defeat, has resigned as party president.
While the Congress and the TDP, who were not very keen on the polls, sweated it out in the campaign, Rao and his men remained complacent. Chief Minister Y.S. Rajasekhar Reddy of the Congress toured all the constituencies selling his development card. “Telangana people have blessed the development agenda and I rededicate myself to its development,” he said. In fact, Reddy is happier about the fall in the vote share of the TDP, the main rival in the state, than the drubbing of the TRS.
Despite a marginal fall in the vote share, the TDP, which could win only 11 of 107 seats in the Telangana region in the 2004 polls, wrested four Assembly seats and a Parliament seat from the TRS. “It is our moral victory,” said party president N. Chandrababu Naidu. “We would have won a few more seats had there been no misuse of official machinery.”
The TRS strength in the Assembly had reduced to 16 when 10 rebel MLAs broke away and the Speaker is yet to decide on their disqualification issue. After the byelections, the rebels outnumber TRS legislators. T. Jayaprakash Reddy, a rebel MLA, said that he would ask the Speaker to recognise them as the real TRS.
More than anything else, the poll results cast doubts on the much-trumpeted Telangana sentiment. However, a closer look would reveal that it was not a mandate against the statehood demand but the TRS. In Warangal district, the TDP candidates who won had openly campaigned for Telangana, and even Naidu had told the voters that his party would review its ‘united state’ stand, if required. The Congress campaign in Nizamabad was led by state chief D. Srinivas, a prominent pro-Telangana leader, who assured the voters that the party leadership would definitely consider the demand for statehood at the right time.
Many attribute the defeat of the TRS to Rao’s autocratic style of functioning. Moreover, for a party that survives merely on sentiment, forcing byelections was a risky decision. The buck stops with Rao; he has a lot to explain.
Source: The Week, 15 June 2008