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A storm brewing in Telangana? Here’s a deep-dive analysis on where Political Parties stand

A lot has been brewing internally in Telangana while the country plunged into battling the second wave of the pandemic. A lot has changed ever since former Telangana finance minister Eatala Rajendar’s exit from the Telangana Rashtra Samithi recently. 
 
But, what exactly led to this rivalry between Telangana Chief Minister K. Chandrasekhar Rao and his close aide and MLA from Huzurabad, Eatala Rajender? This storm has been brewing for some time now. It all started with Rajender being vocal about his criticism against KCR’s pet scheme - Rythu Bandhu. Then, it was heard that KCR’s idea of introducing changes into the revenue act were leaked to the media by Rajender. 
 
To put a check to Rajender, KCR decided to bring Eatala’s arch rival Gangula Kamalakar into the TRS. While that sent him clear signals to show who is the boss in TRS, KCR also introduced the idea of his son and Telangana IT minister K.T. Rama Rao being the next Chief Minister. While those rumours didn’t die, it was clear to Rajender that the cards may be crumbling for him. 
 
It is important to note that Eatala Rajender has a considerable influence over the BC community in Telangana and also a good stronghold in Karimnagar district, which includes his constituency. While he has been a loyal TRS member and stuck to the Telangana cause as a key leader from the Telangana movement, he also happens to be a tall and respectable leader beyond KCR’s family.  
 
While KCR may have played his game in ousting Rajender by accusing him of land grabbing and other petty political allegations, it is clear that the latter’s exit has shaken up Telangana’s political landscape. 
 
Amidst such a storm brewing in the state, let us look at where political parties stand and how they need to strategize for the upcoming elections in 2023:
 
1) TRS Party: If there is one man who knows how to play his cards right, it is KCR. Irrespective of whether his moves are ethical or not, he tends to grasp trouble and remove obstacles from his way, completely changing the narrative in his favour. With Eatala’s ousting, it is clear that KCR will not take any Opposition lying down. This is also a message to the TRS cadre that anyone willing to ruffle feathers against the High Command will not be spared. 
 
But, like they say, one party’s loss is another’s gain. With TRS exposing its internal battle, it has become vulnerable. This could also lead to other key leaders weighing their options while TRS will have to prepare to convince leaders to stick to the party and its ideology. Now that the party has 2 more years for elections, it needs to go beyond KCR’s family and remind its leaders of the Telangana sentiment. 
 
On the other hand, it has been cleverly playing its cards right with the BJP. Since the BJP requires the party’s support in Rajya Sabha, TRS has been supporting the Centre. But, at the state level, they have played as arch rivals which was clear in Dubbaka Bypoll, GHMC elections and Nagarjuna Sagar Bypolls. Additionally, TRS needs to be on friendly terms with AIMIM in the state.
 
Interestingly, even though TDP hardly has a presence in Telangana, KCR time and again picks up Chandrababu Naidu as a subject and targets him and TDP whenever required. What this also indicates is his support to Jagan in a subtle way. 
 
2) BJP: Whether one likes it or not, the BJP has made its presence felt in Telangana. Part of the reason has been the weakening of Congress and internal party disorientation as well as TDP’s weakening. This void gave way for BJP to strengthen itself, perhaps on religious lines. With BJP winning the Dubbaka Bypoll and giving an equally tough fight in the GHMC elections, the saffron party has clearly cemented its position as the Opposition in the state. 
 
Now, with Eatala’s Exit, BJP has gained immensely as it will use this opportunity to project Eatala as the one betrayed by KCR’s family. And, it is a well-known fact to see how BJP changes political narratives and thereby, public perceptions instantly. With Eatala also announcing his interest in the BJP, the party will look for every opportunity to pull itself together in the process. 
 
While religion may not work as its saviour in Telangana, Congress’ and TDP’s key vote bank may eventually choose BJP for the lack of a better choice. This trend was evident in the GHMC elections and it could become a state-wise trend if Congress and TDP don’t pull up their socks.
 
3) TDP: The Telugu Desam Party has at least shed its image as “Andhra Party” in Telangana for now. But, what the party needs to do right now is to strengthen its votebank. Given that TDP has always had a loyal cadre and that still exists in Telangana, the party needs to put up strong leaders who will reflect the strength of the party’s ideology along with attracting young people. 
 
From choosing Telangana TDP President to Youth Leaders, the Telangana wing of the TDP needs a revamp. From choosing strong candidates who know their constituency to those who will equally reflect the message in the media as spokespersons, the party needs to buckle up and prepare for the upcoming elections from now on. 
 
If it continues to neglect its Telangana wing and continues to ignore its communication and social media strategy going forward, the party, despite having the strongest cadre, may lose its face eventually in the state where it was actually formed. 
 
4) Congress: The internal battle of a party like Congress is a never-ending one. Despite having firebrand leaders like Revanth Reddy, the party is unable to use them well. The lack of strategy, every leader pitching themselves as a CM candidate and complete disorientation within the party has shaken their ground, eventually leading to a loss of cadre. 
 
Their influence over the Reddy community is now slowly fading as most of them have either joined TRS or are willing to jump ship to the BJP. Whatever is the outcome, the party needs a decisive face for Telangana to keep its flock together. Else, it will see more exits and more battle internally. 
 
5) AIMIM: Given that their agenda and ideology is clear, MIM has always been a party that supports any party that forms the government in the state. By focussing on Muslim vote bank, they have their messaging cut out for them. But, what lies ahead for them is the development of Older parts of Hyderabad where they rule the roost. 
 
While politically they have an influence and win seats, these parts of the city have always remained extremely poor and underdeveloped even after Hyderabad progressed in different areas. Therefore, the party’s responsibility doesn’t just end with winning votes but also developing the Old city which remains in the rut. 
 
6) Sharmila’s Party:
As someone who doesn’t belong to the Telangana region and has no connection with the state, Y.S. Sharmila’s entry into Telangana politics seems to be a huge gamble. It is likely to be KCR’s strategy to gain the Christian and Reddy vote bank and keep a check on the BJP and the Congress as the Reddy vote bank is likely to be split between the two national parties. 
 
Additionally, her claims of belonging to Chevella and bringing Rajanna Rajyam are equally absurd. While her party’s existence also is indicative of KCR’s support to Jagan, it is still a question of how Sharmila would be relevant in the current political scenario. 
 
Looks like the storm for the upcoming elections is brewing already in Telangana while its outcome is open to guesswork! 
 
 

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