By Mohammed Shafeeq, Hyderabad, May 16 IANS | 7 months ago

In the historic elections in the two Telugu speaking states, two regional parties swept to power, ending the decade-long rule of the Congress party.

Riding on the Telangana sentiment, the Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) won the public mandate to form the first government in the newly-created Telangana state while people in Seemandhra or residuary Andhra Pradesh voted to power an experienced Chandrababu Naidu.

The Congress was decimated in Seemandhra as it drew a blank in both the assembly and Lok Sabha election. The public anger over the state's bifurcation was in full play.

While punishing the Congress harshly, the Seemandhra people accepting the reality of two states and preferred Telugu Desam Party (TDP) chief N. Chandrababu Naidu for the task of building the new state.

Naidu, the longest serving chief minister of undivided Andhra Pradesh who is credited with the development of Hyderabad into a technology and economic hub during 1995-2004, has promised to turn Seemandhra into Singapore. He faces the huge task of building a new state capital and assuage the hurt feelings of Seemandhra over losing Hyderabad to Telangana.

The Narendra Modi factor also appeared to have helped Naidu, who returned to the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) after a decade. The TDP has secured the majority in 175-member assembly on its own by bagging 88 seats. It was leading in 14 other constituencies. The BJP, the minor partner in the alliance, contested only a few seats.

In the Lok Sabha election in Seemandhra, the TDP-BJP alliance was heading for victory in 17 out of 25 seats.

The campaigning by Narendra Modi and popular actor Pawan Kalyan contributed to the impressive performance of the alliance.

Despite attracting massive crowds during the campaigning, YSR Congress Party (YSRCP) president Y.S. Jaganmohan Reddy could not reach the corridors of power. Fighting the first assembly polls, it bagged 58 seats and was leading in eight other constituencies.

The political observers say Jagan's inexperience and the controversies surrounding him played on the minds of voters. He was in jail for 16 months in corruption cases and his rivals used the allegations against him to their full advantage.

In Telangana, the campaigning was all about the credit for the formation of the separate state. Congress leaders, including Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi, had told the public meetings in Telangana that without them the separate state could have never become a reality.

The Congress appeared to be making good progress as it also targeted TRS chief K. Chandrasekhara Rao for going back on his promise to merge the TRS with the Congress after formation of separate state. The party had also done well in the municipal and panchayat elections, which were held March 30 and in the first week of April but results were announced early this week.

However, the TRS, which refused to even have an alliance with the Congress, won the mandate. It secured simple majority in 119-member assembly by winning 62 seats. The TRS was also heading for victory in 12 out of 17 Lok Sabha constituencies in Telangana, which will come into being as the 29th state June 2.

People in Telangana reposed faith in the TRS as they believed the regional party's assertion that its struggle forced the Congress-led UPA to carve out the separate state. The party also tried to convince the people of the need to have a regional party to protect their interests.

"The TRS alone can rebuild Telangana and fulfill the aspirations of the people," the TRS chief had maintained at the election meetings.

Rao, who will become the first chief minister of Telangana, had promised to make it a "bangaru" or golden Telangana.

It was the best-ever performance by the TRS since it was floated by Rao in 2001 to revive the Telangana movement. The party had won only 10 assembly seats in 2009, down from 26 it bagged in 2004. Its tally of Lok Sabha seats had also come down from five to two.

(Mohammed Shafeeq can be contacted at m.shafeeq@ians.in)

(Posted on 16-05-2014)

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