HYDERABAD: Though the Telangana state Assembly polls are 27 months away, in December 2023 as per schedule, the Telangana Rashtra Samiti (TRS) leadership seems to have initiated the process to gauge anti-incumbency against the party's legislators in order to assess their winning prospects.
Party sources said that TRS president and Chief Minister K. Chandrashekar Rao started obtaining reports from various independent survey agencies on the performance of sitting MLAs, anti-incumbency they faced and their winning prospects in the 2023 elections.
The TRS currently has 103 MLAs. It won 88 of the 119 seats in the Assembly in 2018; 12 legislators from the Congress, two from the Telugu Desam (TD) and two Independents joined the TRS later, taking the total number of MLAs to 103.
Of them, 68 MLAs have been elected twice or more to the Assembly. The party leadership expects anti-incumbency against local MLAs in 2023 Assembly polls who were elected multiple times to the Assembly.
Although the TRS banks heavily on Chandrashekar Rao’s leadership, charisma, welfare schemes and development programmes, the party leadership fears that anti-incumbency against local MLAs may play spoilsport in 2023 polls.
For the 2018 Assembly polls, Chandrashekar Rao retained all the sitting MLAs barring five, based on survey reports. The TRS won all the five seats where sitting MLAs were replaced. However, the party paid a heavy price in the 2020 December GHMC polls, as it retained the majority of corporators while ignoring the survey reports which found severe anti-incumbency against them. Of the total 99 corporators, the TRS retained 78 of whom only 44 could win, bringing down the TRS tally in the GHMC general council from 99 to 55.
The party also lost Dubbak Assembly bypoll to the BJP in December 2020 by a slender margin after the party fielded Solipeta Sujatha, wife of the deceased MLA Solipeta Ramalinga Reddy despite survey reports finding anti-incumbency against his family.
Learning from these experiences, the TRS chief has started assessing anti-incumbency on sitting MLAs much in advance for 2023 Assembly polls to ensure that required corrective measures could be taken to set right the things in that constituency or find an alternative candidate....