Hyderabad: Family rule, corruption, unkept promises, power, Dharani portal, question paper leaks of TSPSC exams are among some key issues that dominated the election campaign in Telangana.
While both Congress and BJP tried to target BRS over family rule, corruption and unfulfilled promises, the ruling party launched a counter attack on Congress using some controversial statements of its leaders over the issue of power supply to farmers.
A rejuvenated Congress tried to draw political mileage by accusing Bharat Rashtra Samithi (BRS) and its friendly party Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (MIM) of being B and C teams of BJP. The Congress leaders thus tried to project the November 30 election as a fight between the Congress and the rest.
In a counter attack, the BJP alleged secret understanding between BRS, Congress and MIM. The BRS dubbed both the national parties as partners.
BRS, which was the first to launch its campaign after declaring its candidates nearly two months before the announcement of election schedule, focused on its achievements.
Leading the party campaign, BRS President and Chief Minister K. Chandrasekhar Rao highlighted the progress of Telangana during the last 10 years.
As someone who led the movement for statehood to Telangana and the Chief Minister of the new state for two consecutive terms, KCR is seeking a mandate to continue what he calls the state’s march on the path of progress.
He tried to highlight how Telangana emerged as a trailblazer state in the country in a short span of time. From highest per capita income in the country to 24-hour free electricity supply to farmers and from piped drinking water for all households to numerous welfare schemes, he showcased the state’s achievements under BRS rule.
Drawing a comparison with the Congress-ruled states, especially neighbouring Karnataka and citing some statements of Congress leaders, he cautioned people that power to Congress will push the state back into darkness, political instability and chaos.
Addressing 3-4 public meetings every day, KCR also tried to strike an emotional chord with the people saying their own party and not ‘Gulams of Delhi’ can take better care of them.
“TRS (now BRS) took birth for the people of Telangana and after achieving its goal of Telangana state, it embarked on the journey to transform the lives of people,” he told every public meeting and reminded people of the problems that were there at the beginning of the journey.
Recalling that the state was facing the problems like recurrent droughts, power shortage, distress in agriculture, farmers’ suicides and migration, he claimed that the government overcame the problems one after the other.
The party also launched a campaign on various social media platforms to depict how Telangana looked in 2014 and what it has become now. By overcoming power shortage, ensuring 24 hour free power to farmers, completion of pending irrigation projects, especially Kaleshwaram, claimed to be the world’s largest lift irrigation project which helped increase area under cultivation and significantly enhanced production and by launching Rythu Bandhu, an investment support scheme for farmers, it checked farmer suicides.
In what appears to be a repeat of 2018 polls, both Congress and BJP targeted KCR mainly on family rule and corruption. Top leaders of both the national parties claimed that only one family benefited after the formation of Telangana state. “The Congress had not created Telangana state for one family. The aspirations of the people who fought for the state remain unfulfilled,” Congress leader Rahul Gandhi said at every election rally he addressed in Telangana during the last two months.
The Congress MP called the election a fight between “Dorala (feudal) Telangana” and “Prajala (people’s) Telangana”.
The alleged failure of KCR government in delivering on its promise of providing government jobs and the recent leaks of question papers of the recruitment exams conducted by Telangana State Public Service Commission (TSPSC) gave the opposition an issue to hit out at BRS.
Congress and BJP tried to woo unemployed youth with the promises to fill 2 lakh vacancies in government departments. The Congress even promised a job calendar with the dates of exams, results and job notifications.
The opposition also tried to capitalise on the sinking of some piers of Medigadda, one of the barrages of Kaleshwaram project across Godavari River. While the Centre was quick to depute a team to probe the incident, Rahul Gandhi visited the barrage and reiterated the allegation that it was a mega scam involving Rs 1 lakh crore.
Both Congress and BJP promised that if voted to power they will order an inquiry into all scams including Kaleshwaram and send the guilty to jail.
Rubbishing the allegations, BRS working president K. T. Rama Rao said since both the Congress and BJP can’t fight BRS on the performance of its government, they were raising issues like family rule and making baseless allegations.
The controversial statement by state Congress president A. Revanth Reddy that a three-hour power supply is sufficient for farmers was used by KCR to launch a counter attack. At the public meetings, the BRS chief asked people if they want three-hour power or 24-hour power.
As Congress is upbeat after capturing power in Karnataka and is looking to replicate the success in Telangana, the reports of power shortage in Karnataka and the protest farmers in that state provided an opportunity to the BRS to caution people against voting for Congress. KCR and KTR started telling voters that if they elect Congress to power, Telangana will witness a similar situation.
Dharani portal, a digital land record, is another issue which dominated the campaign. Accusing the KCR government of snatching people’s lands by using Dharani, Congress promised to come out with an alternative portal. Alleging irregularities in Dharani, BJP too promised that if voted to power it will launch an alternative portal.
In every election speech, KCR is cautioning people that if Dharani portal is scrapped, farmers will stop receiving financial assistance under Rythu Bandhu.
The BJP came up with the promise that if voted to power it will make a leader from backward class as the chief minister. The move is aimed to woo BCs, who constitute 50 per cent of the population.
The BJP also raked up the controversial issues to target BRS over its minority appeasement policy. Like in the past, it questioned BRS why it was not celebrating September 17 as Hyderabad Liberation Day.
Union Home Minister Amit Shah and other top BJP leaders raised the issue in every public meeting and accused BRS of being scared of MIM. They promised that if voted to power, BJP will officially celebrate Hyderabad Liberation Day.
The saffron party also promised to bring Uniform Civil Code and to abolish four per cent reservation for backwards among Muslims. Terming this as religion-based reservation, it has vowed to scrap the same and enhance the quota for Backward Classes, SCs and STs.