Hyderabad: TRS president K. Chandrasekhar Rao does not see any threat to the TRS from the BJP national leadership’s push to expand its base in TS.
Sources said Mr Rao very recently discussed with senior party colleagues the BJP’s attempts to create a buzz in the state on the back of its national president Amit Shah’s proposed three-day tour of the state later this month. The BJP’s stated aim is to become a political alternative to TRS by the 2019 elections.
During the discussion it was pointed out by the TRS leaders that BJP vote is generally anti-Congress vote, which also means TRS votes.
In case the BJP’s attempts do succeed even marginally, it will cut into TRS vote and not into Congress vote, the TRS leaders said.
Differing with this opinion, Mr Rao said that since the TRS has been in power for the last three years, some anti-incumbency vote was to be expected. Besides, the Opposition will try to increase the percentage of anti-incumbency vote by raising public issues. He said there were a few political parties in the state that will play a crucial role in the next elections like the Congress and the BJP, while the others will be marginalised or play a minor role.
He said that even if one assumes the anti-incumbency vote is over 50 per cent, it will be split between the Congress and the BJP, about which the TRS need not worry.
Mr Rao predicted that the BJP will try to poach as many Congress leaders as possible. At present, the BJP is not in a position to field formidable candidates even in 50 of the 119 Assembly constituencies in the state, he said.
“To grow in the state, it will invite Congress leaders to the party by offering seats. There is a general feeling in the state that the TRS will return to power in Telangana and Narendra Modi at the Centre in 2019. This feeling will get stronger and Congress leaders will desert the party in large numbers to grab BJP tickets. These leaders will attract some votes of the Congress due to their local clout. Why should we worry?” Mr Rao reportedly said.
However, the TRS chief expressed the apprehension that in a few of the Assembly constituencies, performance of the sitting TRS MLAs was not up to the mark. He said he would need to change the candidates in the interest of party.
Mr Rao also spoke at length about the recent announcements on sops, the government’s decisions, legislations and initiatives and said that these would nullify the anti-incumbency vote to major extent.
“There is criticism that I am doing everything now. Some are asking why are these initiatives not being taken next year. To this, I have only one answer: If I do anything in 2018, I will be accused of taking decisions with an eye on the 2019 elections. Even beneficiaries of the government sops will believe that they were given since elections are around the corner,” Mr Rao said.
Mr Rao added: “Let no one feel that I have worked keeping elections in mind which are two years away.”
He said that people who benefit this year from the schemes announced by the TRS government will feel that he did not do anything for votes. “This way, almost all sections are addressed and I will be nullifying the anti-establishment vote,” Mr Rao is said to have told the TRS leaders....