Magic hand: Congress goes from 'written off' to 'Comeback kid' in 9 years

As his party’s defeat became obvious, Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao sent his resignation to the Governor and left the Pragati Bhavan in a private vehicle for his farmhouse.
A jubilant TPCC chief Revanth Reddy greets party supporters at his residence in Hyderabad on Sunday | vinay madapu
A jubilant TPCC chief Revanth Reddy greets party supporters at his residence in Hyderabad on Sunday | vinay madapu

HYDERABAD: “Maarpu Kaavali, Congress Raavali” — the popular poll slogan came true on Sunday, as the party, after nine-plus years, finally swept aside the ruling BRS winning 64 of the 119 constituencies, five more than the magic number required to form the government.

The BRS of outgoing chief minister K Chandrasekhar Rao, bidding for a record third consecutive term, came a distant second with just 39, down from 88 in 2018. The Congress Legislature Party will meet on Monday at 9.30 am to elect its leader, Karnataka Deputy Chief Minister DK Shivakumar told the media. State Congress chief

A Revanth Reddy, the man of the moment, dedicated the victory to Telangana martyrs and declared that from now on, Pragati Bhavan, the official residence of the chief minister, will be called Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar Praja Bhavan.

Shivakumar made it clear that the party high command will decide the legislature party leader and chief minister. Revanth, who won by a whopping 32,532 votes in Kodangal, is the front-runner for the post. The firebrand leader, accompanied by  Shivakumar and senior Telangana colleagues, formally met Governor Tamilisai Soundararajan late in the evening to stake claim to form the government.

As his party’s defeat became obvious, Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao sent his resignation to the Governor and left the Pragati Bhavan in a private vehicle for his farmhouse. Raj Bhavan in a statement said the Governor had requested KCR to continue as caretaker CM till the new government is formed. Though KCR didn’t speak to the media, BRS working president KT Rama Rao congratulated the Congress and affirmed that his party would learn lessons and play its new role as an opposition.

The Congress, which was considered dead and buried in the last nine years, breached the BRS bastions in North Telangana, winning 34 out of 54 seats — effectively ending any hopes of the BRS. The CPI, its ally, won in the only seat it contested from Kothagudem. In the south, a stronghold of the Congress, the party won 30 out of 50 seats. But it drew a blank in Hyderabad, where the BRS won seven and MIM an equal number.

The BJP, interestingly, won as many as eight seats in total, up from just one in 2018. The star of the BJP was the little-known K Venkata Ramana Reddy, who defeated both Revanth Reddy and KCR in Kamareddy by a margin of 6,741 votes. But its popular leader Bandi Sanjay Kumar lost in Karimnagar.

A number of Congress workers celebrated the victory at the Gandhi Bhavan, the party’s Telangana headquarters, with Revanth joining them. They had every reason to celebrate as not only has the party stormed the state, most of its top leaders won by huge margins. Mallu Bhatti Vikramarka, N Uttam Kumar Reddy, Komatireddy Venkat Reddy, Komatireddy Rajagopal Reddy, Sridhar Babu and many others registered thumping victories.

Amid the Congress fervour, as many as six ministers lost. KTR and KCR’s nephew Harish Rao, however, won by 29,687 votes and 82,308 votes respectively. But their margins compared to 2018 came down. BJP leader and former minister Eatala Rajender, touted as a possible BJP CM candidate, was defeated in both Huzurabad and Gajwel segments. In the latter, he lost to KCR.

If Revanth is elected as CLP leader, he will be the first chief minister from the most backward Palamuru region. What seems to have worked in favour of the Congress is the severe anti-incumbency against the KCR government, and its own outreach to the people with its six guarantees. But party insiders suggested caution as despite the fact that the party has a clear majority, it is still not exactly comfortable given the past history of horse-trading by KCR.

The major reasons for the BRS defeat such as poor implementation of housing scheme and faulty execution of welfare schemes ought to be a cautionary tale, they opined. Interestingly, the BRS faced a backlash not only from farmers and women but also government employees and teachers.“We need to be united and execute our guarantees flawlessly,” a party leader said.

Related Stories

No stories found.

X
The New Indian Express
www.newindianexpress.com