Much to the dismay of Bharat Rashtra Samithi (BRS) and Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), the exit polls have predicted a complete sweep for the Congress in Telangana, giving them as many as seventy seats in a state with 119 assembly seats. If the results align with the exit poll numbers, the BJP and BRS will be left with a lot to ponder. However, these five questions, at the end of the day, will matter the most.
Did BJP Miss Reading An Anti-KCR Sentiment
While most surveys still show Chief Minister K. Chandrashekar Rao as the preferred candidate amongst the voters to lead the state, a huge anti-incumbency does appear to be on the cards.
Therefore, the other national party will be questioned for its inability to read the sentiment on the ground, and for going with only a limited number of seats, strategically, to play the kingmaker when it could have easily ended up as the king. Assuming the Congress does win the state, the question will haunt the BJP for a long time.
Can Congress Form The Government At 55-59 Seats
The infamous ‘resort politics’ might come into play if Congress struggles to get to the halfway mark. As per reports, a few of the Congress MLAs could jump ship and switch to the BRS, if the numbers do not add up. Even in the early surveys, factionalism between the Congress MLAs was cited as a key reason amongst the voters to sustain their vote for BRS. The other primary reason was no declaration of CM Face by the national party, though, on the ground, Revanth Reddy is already being celebrated as the next Chief Minister.
Where Did The Minority Vote Go
For Congress to be able to dent the BRS in Telangana, a significant shift in the minority towards them. As per the 2011 Census, Muslims make up almost 13 per cent of the population in the state.
To put in perspective the importance of this vote bank; BRS went ahead and promised a dedicated IT Park only for the Muslims! Congress, in its manifesto, had a ‘Minority Declaration’, further making a case for monetary incentives and other reservations for Muslims in the state. Given they constitute more than 15 per cent of the voters in 29 of the 119 seats, or even 22 (if one were to discount 7 seats that are traditionally AIMIM strongholds), the final outcome could well depend on where Muslims choose to go.
What Are The Other Regional Parties Taking Away From This
If the Congress does eat into the minority vote share of the BRS, where does it leave the other regional parties with respect to the alliance in 2024? Already, the intricate seat-sharing arrangement between the likes of TMC, RJD, and SP in their respective states, and Congress is not making much headway.
Would the parties want to risk Congress cutting through their traditional vote share in Bengal, Bihar, and Uttar Pradesh? Thus, would there be a three-way contest in most of these states, eventually benefitting the BJP? Telangana, in the larger scheme of things, is important for two reasons, therefore. One, if it gives Congress a launchpad for 2024 with 2 states from South India, and two if it prospectively kills the Congress alliance altogether for 2024. Early surveys, however, indicate that the BRS still holds the edge when it comes to minority votes.
AIMIM-BRS or BRS-BJP Government On The Cards
At the end of December 3, a coalition government with AIMIM-BRS could well be on the cards. Asaduddin Owaisi was all praises for the BRS and the Chief Minister, signalling his support to the party during the campaign days. This left the Congress fuming, and alleging that the BJP, BRS, and AIMIM were in cahoots. Priyanka Gandhi, in one of her rallies, questioned AIMIM for fighting for a limited number of seats in Telangana.
In the case of a hung assembly, both AIMIM and BJP, the former being a better favourite, would be in pole position to turn kingmakers. While the BJP would hope for its tally to go into double-digits, given they were at one in 2018, the BRS would hope to be in the favourable fifties, and then bank on AIMIM to win their traditional seats.
Put simply, anything less than 60 for the Congress could amount to a long day for the poll pundits.
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