Sunday’s massive Hyderabad rally by Telangana CM K. Chandrasekhar Rao is a clear show of strength and presages an early Assembly election there, though the matter was left for the CM to decide and announce. Since Assembly elections are due in November-December in Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh and Mizoram, if KCR chooses to go to the people early for tactical reasons, Telangana could join this group of states, and not until May 2019 when the Assembly’s term expires.
It must be seen if such a decision, if it materialises, has a knock-on effect in Andhra Pradesh, from where Telanagana was carved out. Even if that doesn’t happen, Assembly polls in five states — covering the northern part of the country as well as the South and the Northeast — are apt to give a sense of a mini-general election before next year’s Lok Sabha polls.
There has already been political speculation for some time that a few other states too may choose to hold polls. Bihar, Odisha and J&K have been mentioned in this regard, possibly even Maharashtra.
The Centre is apt to become involved in this dynamic as the top BJP leadership will have to take a call for some states, and has a position of influence in others. KCR too met Prime Minister Narendra Modi recently, leading to speculation that state polls were discussed.
If Assembly polls are actually held in states besides the original four, the BJP, its opponents, and non-BJP parties that aren’t exactly in the Opposition camp, will be quickening the tempo of work, including stitching up coalition partnerships to the extent feasible.