HYDERABAD: The outcome of the Lok Sabha polls was not a setback to the TRS, party working president KT Rama Rao said on Tuesday, adding that, “It was like a temporary speed breaker.”
He deduced that his sister K Kavitha’s defeat in Nizamabad was on account of collusion between the Congress and BJP.
In an informal chat with reporters at the Assembly, Rama Rao said the TRS’ vote share increased in 2019, compared to the 2014 LS polls. “The TRS got 6% more votes in 2019 than in 2014. Compared to the 2014 Assembly polls, the TRS got just 4.5 lakh votes less. But the TRS’ strength in the LS came down to nine from 11 in 2014.”
He added that the trends were different this year. “We won only one seat in Khammam district in the Assembly elections but got a lead in many Assembly segments in the Khammam LS seat. Likewise, the TRS was in the lead in many Assembly segments in Mahabubabad LS seat, where the party did not fare well in the Assembly polls.”
The Congress won all three seats with simple majorities. “The TRS got a 3.5 lakh vote majority in the Warangal LS seat. But the Opposition’s combined votes in seven Assembly segments in the constituency was less than the TRS’ majority in Warangal,” he analysed and admitted that national factors like the Modi wave seemed to have worked among voters aged between 18 and 30.
“In my Sircilla segment, I got an 89,000 vote majority in 2018, but it fell to 6,000 in the LS polls. There are no workers for the BJP and no polling agents in several booths. But the voters supported the BJP,” Rama Rao said. The BJP leaders could not have even expected to win the Adilabad LS seat, he added.
“We have to check whether the series of elections, right from the Assembly polls, slowed down governance and created an impact on voters in the LS polls,” KTR said.
‘Kavitha a fighter’s daughter’
Asked about the defeat of Kavitha in Nizamabad, Rama Rao said that she was not defeated due to the farmers’ agitation. All the so-called farmers were political agents, he alleged. “Nomination papers of around 93 farmers were prepared at the residence of a Congress leader in Jagtial,” Rama Rao said, claiming that the Congress and BJP colluded in Nizamabad.
“Failure is an orphan. But success has so many fathers. We will not be discouraged by the defeat in Nizamabad and Karimnagar. Kavitha is the daughter of a fighter (KCR). She has been participating in programmes in Nizamabad, and B Vinod Kumar, who lost the election in Karimnagar, is meeting people from Karimnagar every day.
‘TRS will get majority’
While asserting that the TRS’ vote bank was intact, Rama Rao said the party would get the lion’s share in ZP chairpersons and MPP posts.
‘It’s not my failure’
When asked about reports in a section of the media saying the TRS received a jolt in the LS polls after KTR took charge as working president of the party, Rama Rao said: “We got a majority of the seats in GHMC. But no one praised me (yevaru kireetamu pettaru?). The LS poll results are not an indication of my failure.”He wondered why the media, which came down on him, failed to call Naidu an utter flop leader in Andhra Pradesh, when the TDP received a drubbing in AP polls.
Relations with the BJP
Asked about the party’s relations with the BJP at the Centre, Rama Rao said the TRS government in the State would maintain a “government-to-government” relationship with the BJP at the Centre. “We have maintained constitutional relations with the BJP in the past. We supported GST and demonetisation, but fought with the Modi government on State issues like the delay in bifurcation of the high court. We will continue this approach. We will support the BJP on issues of national importance, but fight for our rights and funds,” he said.
KTR alleged the Congress was not in a state to act as a better Opposition in the Lok Sabha and there was a need for all regional parties to unite and play the role of the Opposition. “Even if regional parties like the DMK, YSRCP and others won a majority of the seats, they can’t do anything now, as the BJP got sufficient numbers. Even if the TRS won all the 16 seats, our role is limited in the formation of the government in Delhi. But the regional parties should unitedly fight for their rights. Stronger regional parties will help the federal spirit to flourish,” the TRS working president said.
Rama Rao refused to come down on TDP supremo N Chandrababu Naidu, but said cordial relations with YS Jagan Mohan Reddy, the CM-designate of AP, would continue. “Telangana shares a long border with AP - from Alampur to Bhadrachalam. We have to maintain good relations with neighbouring states. Now, there is a mutual trust and respect between the Chief Ministers of AP and TS,” Rama Rao said.
Asked if the defection of 11 Congress MLAs had an impact on the TRS in the LS polls, Rama Rao pointed out that the TRS got a majority in eight out of 11 seats. He, however, said Congress MLAs did not join the TRS technically.
‘Hajipur incident being politicised’
Claiming that some Opposition leaders’ attempts to politicise the Hajipur incident was painful, TRS working president KT Rama Rao said that the ruling party wanted to set up a fast-track court to punish the accused in the case. He added that the party felt very sorry about the recent suicides of Intermediate students
‘Kavitha is daughter of a fighter’
On his sister Kavitha losing the polls in Nizamabad, KTR said: “We will not be discouraged... Kavitha is a daughter of a fighter (Chief Minister K Chandrashekhar Rao)