Delayed Monsoon, Drought Fears Leave BRS Worried in Poll Year
DECCAN CHRONICLE | L Venkat Ram Reddy
Hyderabad: The delayed monsoon and possible drought conditions in Telangana in the election year have left the ruling BRS worried. Party leaders were assessing the impact of a likely drought on irrigation, drinking water and fodder that could pose serious problems in rural areas and fuel public anger against the state government.
It is for the first time that the BRS government would have to reckon with drought conditions, if such a situation develops, as the state has enjoyed abundant rains since 2014. The leadership is hopeful that the situation could improve with good rains in the remaining three months of this monsoon.
They recalled that the monsoon was weak in June and July in 2015 but the rains in August and September made up for the loss to some extent.
A majority of the state population lives in rural areas and is dependent on agriculture and allied sectors directly and indirectly. An adverse impact on agriculture due to drought will hit the rural economy, lead to financial problems and unrest among rural people. Every ruling party fears that such a situation would fuel an anti-incumbency mindset.
A heated debate is underway in BRS circles over the outcome of Assembly elections held in the backdrop of drought conditions. Many recalled the reversal of electoral fortunes that saw the then Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee and then Chief Minister N. Chandrababu Naidu humbled in the 2004 general elections which were held after severe drought in 2002 and 2003.
As per the socio economic outlook for 2022-23 released by the state government in February, the services sector accounted for 62.8 per cent of Telangana’s Gross State Value Added (GSVA) at current prices, followed by industries at 19 per cent and ‘agriculture and allied’ sector with 18.2 per cent in 2022-23. Thought the share of agriculture seems small, it is a very large employer of people.
BRS leaders strongly feel that the party retained power for second term on the back of farmers support who benefited from schemes such as Rythu Bandhu and 24x7 free power as well as abundant rains.