HYDERABAD: The BRS seems to be on the edge with the Congress trying to make inroads into north Telangana which has remained pink heartland since 2004. As elections are less than a fortnight away, the BRS appears to be concerned about how to prevent Congress from making any gains.
The BRS, which won 17 of the 26 Assembly seats in 2004 from the north Telangana region, has not looked back since then. It surged, making a clean sweep of the seats in 2014 and 2018 in some districts. In 2004, the party won three Assembly seats in erstwhile Adilabad, an equal number in Nizamabad, four in Karimnagar, seven in erstwhile Warangal, and none from Khammam.
The party contested the election in an alliance with the Congress and secured 26 seats including four in Medak, two in Hyderabad, and one each from Rangareddy, Mahabubnagar, and Nalgonda district. This time around, the Congress is trying to make a foray into BRS’ strongholds in north Telangana. In 2009, the ruling party won only 10 Assembly seats out of the 45 it contested as part of “Mahakutami” with the TDP, CPI and CPM.
The party won three seats in Adilabad, one in Nizamabad, four in Karimnagar, and one each in Medak and Warangal districts. Between 2009 to 2014, several by-elections took place in which several TDP and Congress MLAs who joined the TRS (now BRS) were elected to the Assembly.
After the formation of Telangana State, the party won 63 Assembly seats in 2014 elections. It got 37 seats in the North. The break up is as follows: Nizambad: 9, Adilabad: 7, Karimangar: 12, Warangal: 8 and one in Khammam.
In the 2018 Assembly Elections, the party won 88 Assembly seats. It won 39 seats in the north. After the formation of the Telangana State, the party continued to hold its sway over North Telangana districts. On the other hand, the Congress won 24 Assembly seats in the 2004 election and 17 in 2009 from north Telangana. After the formation of the State, the grand old party won only 7 Assembly seats in the 2014 elections and 11 in 2018 from north Telangana.
The party wants to improve its tally in the coming election in North Telangana. After being in power for 10 long years, the BRS is carrying a load of anti-incumbency. Congress wants to capitalize on this factor and also tap into voter fatigue to improve its performance.
BRS leaders appear to be worried over the possible erosion of its strength in North Telangana which Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao had nursed by stoking Telangana sentiment. Interestingly, the party leaders are wondering what mantra KCR would use to regain the support that seems to have slipped away to the Congress. There is no doubt that the BRS is facing the toughest electoral battle this time.