Adjust Your Focus

TRS Facing the Heat on Campaign Trail But Brand KCR Might Come to the Rescue


Last week, a former TRS minister in Telangana who was campaigning ahead of the Assembly elections in the state, was gheraoed by a mob of farmers. The angry crowd stopped his car and refused to listen to him. What followed next was a halt in the campaign due to the chaos.

The incident happened in Wanaparthy district in Telangana. The farmers wanted an assurance from the minister that adequate water would be provided for irrigation.

This is not the first time Jupally Krishna Rao, Minister for Rural Development, was mobbed by people. Previously, he had to get on top of his car to pacify the angry crowd.

In the last one month, there have been at least seven such incidents where Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) leaders, have faced backlash while on campaign trail. With villages taking oath to boycott elections and asking leaders to sign a bond saying that the promises would be fulfilled—the ruling party leaders are facing the heat.
Earlier this month, a farmer from Narnoor mandal in Adilabad district, committed suicide due to crop failure. Her husband had to carry her on his shoulders to cross a stream to reach the hospital. Sadly, the woman died.

A week later, residents of the mandal protested with banners saying “No roads, no bridges, then why vote? Do not come to our village asking for votes.”

In another incident, people from Wardhanapet in Warangal, protested against the local TRS candidate Aroori Ramesh for lack of development. Slogans were raised saying “You have no right to ask for our vote.”

These incidents are definitely a setback to the party ahead of the elections in December. With the anti-incumbency factor gaining momentum, it is not going to be an easy ride this time, say analysts.

But, will caretaker chief minister K Chandrashekar Rao’s image come to the rescue? Probably yes, say political analysts in the state.

“At the grassroots, the local leaders’ performance might not be satisfying, but TRS will have an edge due to KCR and his brand name,” Prof Nageshwar Rao, a political analyst, told News18.

The Chief Minister, time and again, has expressed confidence that the party would easily win at least 100 of the 119seats. He had also said, last month, that the TRS had fulfilled all the promises made in the previous manifesto.

What came as a relief and a boost to the TRS candidates is the partial manifesto released last week. The manifesto, this time, includes allowance for unemployed youth, a higher pension pay, apart from the loan waiver. Analysts believe that the latest promises will give the campaign a boost and help the candidates in fielding questions on the ground.

Also, the opposition has not been able to galvanise the discontent into an anti-KCR narrative, which is another advantage of the TRS, apart from the chief minister’s flamboyant image, adds Nageshwar Rao.

What worked well for KCR in 2014 was the separate Telangana agitation. The fight for a separate state, in which he was at the forefront, helped him gain support from masses.

But, now, the situation is different. The focus is on the promises made and how much of it has been a reality? The questions is, are people of the state ready to give KCR another chance? Most likely yes, say analysts.

“The anti-KCR narrative is building, but I don’t think that is the situation as of now,” added Nageshwar Rao.

Telangana will go for polls on December 7 and the counting will follow on the 11th of the same month.

| Edited by: Ahona Sengupta

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