Guessing winner now a tough call in Telangana

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Telangana Assembly Elections 2023 is going to be a different ball game

Telangana Assembly Elections 2023 is going to be a different ball game. Unlike in the previous two elections in 2014 and 2018, this time around the electorate is sending mixed signals. Just nine days are there for the curtains to be pulled down on the campaign but neither BRS nor Congress is 100% confident of an absolute majority, though for public consumption all claim that they are going to come to power. The most interesting part is that even in Gajwel, where Chief Minister K Chandrashekar Rao is contesting, the reaction from the voters is a mixed one. They are so diverse that even the pollsters are left confused. Some villagers feel their representatives do not convey their problems to the Chief Minister and that is affecting the development of their villages. There are others who have lost land under various irrigation projects but got handsome compensation and received other benefits and are happy with the government.

In many key constituencies, whether it be Khammam or Palair, the contest seems to be a keen one. BRS working president KTR said this election has become like the World Cup 2023 and that like Kohli, the BRS would hit a century. Well whether BRS would hit a century like Kohli in his earlier ODI matches or will it be over half a century like the Ahmedabad one needs to be watched. Kohli on two occasions achieved triple figure scores which helped him take down Sachin Tendulkar’s mighty record for most ODIs ever. TRS, too, had got absolute majority twice since the formation of Telangana. But on Sunday, Australian captain Pat Cummins silenced the Ahmedabad crowd by disrupting Kohli’s hopes.

Will Congress prove to be Cummins? The way the Telangana government has launched a media campaign focussing on Congress party’s poll promises and comparing them with the situation that prevailed in the region before 2014 and the “pathetic” conditions in Karnataka, where Congress has come to power recently, indicate that the ruling party is certainly concerned over the tough fight it is facing. Normally, the BRS used to set the agenda and other parties used to follow it. But now the Congress seems to have pushed the ruling party into defensive situation where it has been forced to do a lot of explanation and present comparative picture of development before and after 2014. While it is felt that a lot of money may change hands on the eve of elections, the Election Commission needs a word of praise as it has been maintaining tight vigil and to a great extent succeeded in controlling the supply of liquor in various bastis in the state till date. If it can maintain the same tempo till November 30 and restrict distribution of money, then the result would indicate the real mood of the people. All parties have laid special emphasis on the last-minute poll management and ensure that the voter turnout would be maximum. Whatever it might mean!

Some leaders in districts tried theatrics like preparing dosas at roadside eateries or bathing an elderly person for the sake of social media propaganda, though they drew some flak as the old man pleaded with them to stop it. What the leaders need to understand is that now we are in an era of Artificial Intelligence and such old tactics won’t work. When it comes to manifestos, the BRS had given many add-ons to its present welfare schemes and announced hike in the direct cash transfer schemes like Rythu Bandhu etc. On the other hand, the Congress promise of Rs 5 lakh as Vidya Bharosa and other promises have certainly made the rural voters ponder over the assurances.

The BJP, as Vijayashanti had rightly said, has deliberately allowed itself to lose whatever ground it had gained till the middle of 2023. The visit of top leaders and their allegations against the Chief Minister and the government are not cutting any ice with the voters. All this makes this Assembly election an interesting case study for analysts. So far none is able to say Kuan Jeetega, Kaun Harega.

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