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Campaigning ends for Telangana; KCR seeks to create history as BJP guns for his ouster, Congress sees momentum in its favour

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Hyderabad (Telangana) | November 29, 2023 12:20:19 AM IST
Campaigning for the high-stakes battle in Telangana ended on Tuesday with Chief Minister K Chandrashekar Rao seeking a third term in office on the basis of the party's performance and promises over the past 10 years, Congress talking of momentum in its favour to form its first government in the state and the BJP also promising to end "misrule and corruption" of the ruling Bharatiya Rasthra Samithi.

The aggressive campaigning saw the Congress and BJP repeatedly raising issues concerning people, with the BRS leaders expressing confidence about the delivery of their programmes.

The three parties have made big promises in their manifestos. Polling in the state will be held on November 30 with counting of votes to take place on December 3 along with four other states.

If K Chandrashekar Rao, widely known as KCR, wins another term in office, it will be the first occasion when a Chief Minister from a Southern state will get a third straight term in office.

The Congress campaign in Telangana apparently picked up momentum after Rahul Gandhi's Bharat Jodo Yatra and the party's victory in assembly polls in neighbouring Karnataka.

The Congress chief in the state Anumula Revanth Reddy, 54, is seen as a leader who has taken on KCR and the party is keen to gain from the anti-incumbency against the government.

Congress leaders have been reminding residents of India's youngest state of the role played by former party chief Sonia Gandhi in its creation in 2014.

Political analysts feel that the fortunes of BJP, which was emerging as an alternative to BRS with its victories in two by-polls and strong performance in the Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation election, dipped a few months ago.

BJP leaders have been strongly attacking the KCR to fend off any perception of the party being soft towards the ruling party in Telangana. They have accused the Chief Minister of being "inaccessible" and ruling from a "farmhouse". BJP leaders have also accused KCR of propagating dynastic politics and said that suggestions by KCR to join NDA were not accepted. BRS leaders have refuted the suggestions about their intention to join the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance.

One of the key BJP promises is to make a person from the Backward Class community a Chief Minister if the party gets support from the people of the state to form a government.

The party has also reached out to various communities and the BJP-led government last week set in motion the process of setting up a committee that will go into the issue of sub-categorisation of the Madiga community within the Scheduled Castes. It has been a long-pending demand of the community.

BJP has promised in its manifesto to implement the Uniform Civil Code and quash 4 per cent reservation for Muslims and instead increase the quota for OBCs, SCs and STs in the state.

The party said that a committee headed by a retired Supreme Court judge will investigate all "corruption cases" against the ruling BRS.

It has promised four free LPG cylinders per year to poor families, Rs 2 Lakh to every girl child from a poor family after she attains the age of 21, providing 2.5 Lakh government jobs in five years, procuring paddy at Rs 3100 per quintal, and reducing the price of petrol and diesel.

The party has said that free arrangements will be made for senior citizens keen to visit the Ram Temple in Ayodhya for the pran prathistha ceremony on January 22.

The BJP has alleged several scams in the state including that related to the Kaleshwar Dam scam and liquor poultry apart from several cases of paper leak.

It said September 17 will be celebrated every year as Hyderabad Liberation Day to mark its freedom from Nizam's rule and August 27 will be observed as Razakar Horrors Remembrance Day.

Congress has sought to outdo the BRS in its poll promises and has announced six guarantees.

Under the Mahalakshmi scheme for women, the Congress has promised Rs 2,500 monthly financial assistance, LPG cylinders at Rs 500; and free travel for women in state-run buses.

The party has promised that Rs 15,000 per acre will be paid to farmers and Rs 12,000 will be given to tenant farmers. The party has promised a bonus of Rs 500 per quintal for paddy.

It said that families not owning a house will be provided a site for one and Rs 5 lakh for construction. Families of those killed during the Telangana Movement will be provided 250-square-yard plots.

The party said that students with Vidya Bharosa cards will receive Rs 5 lakh and Telangana International School will be opened in every manda.

The party has promised up to 200 units of free electricity to households, Rs 4,000 monthly pension will be paid to vulnerable sections.

The party will have promised that Rajiv Aarogyasri will provide health insurance up to Rs 10 lakh.

The Congress announced that it would waive crop loans up to Rs 2 lakh and promised a caste survey within six months of forming the government.

The party promised a judicial inquiry into "irregularities and corruption" in the construction of the Kaleshwaram Lift Irrigation Project

The Congress said it would name a district after former PM PV Narasimha Rao.

Among the BJP's strong push to get the support of OBCs, the Congress has also made many promises including increasing reservations for the community

Bharat Rashtra Samithi (BRS) leaders point out that the state's per capita income has seen a significant rise in the last 10 years due to efforts of the government and various welfare and development schemes will continue.

The party has promised LPG cylinders at Rs 400 each, below-poverty-line (BPL) families would be enhanced health insurance coverage, social security pension would be increased to Rs 5,000 a month from Rs 2,106 and there will be an increase in disability pension.

The party said under 'Rythu Bandhu' scheme, under which farmers get Rs 10,000 per annum per acre, would be enhanced gradually to Rs 16,000 per annum in the next five years.

KCR is contesting from two seats - his original seat Gajwel and Kamareddy. While he is facing BJP leader Etela Rajender in Gajewal, Congress leader Revanth Reddy is taking him on in Kamareddy.

Both Etela and Revanth Reddy are also contesting from two seats.

In the 2014 assembly polls to a united Andhra Pradesh, the then-incumbent Congress got 25.20 per cent votes and BRS (then TRS) got 34 percent in the Telangana area.

Senior leaders of all parties including Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Home Minister Amit Shah and BJP chief JP Nadda, Congress leaders Mallikurjan Kharge, Rahul Gandhi, Priyanka Gandhi Vadra, TRS' KCR, KT Rama Rao and K Kavitha and AIMIM Asaduddin Owaisi ran strong campaigns in the state.

Congress accused the BJP and BRS of having a "strategic alliance" with BJP leaders accusing Congress and BRS of dynastic politics.

In 2018, BRS (then Telangana Rashtra Samithi) won 88 of the 119 seats and had 47.4 per cent of the vote share. The Congress came a distant second with just 19 seats.

While the BJP has an ambitious goal of seeing its first government in Telangana, the Congress is hoping to come to power on the basis of the "momentum" of the past few months. But the party has a huge, almost 18 per cent gap to cover in terms of voting percentage of previous assembly election. (ANI)

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