Will KCR’s Political Gamble Pay Off?

HYDERABAD: Will Telangana Chief Minister and TRS Chief Chandrasekhar Rao’s gamble in deciding to field a fifth party nominee for the current MLC elections under the MLA quota pay off?

This question has assumed importance and is being debated in political circles after Rao stuck to his guns and went ahead in fielding a fifth candidate despite the fact that the ruling TRS can comfortably win only four of the six seats for which polling is scheduled to take place on June 1.

Since each candidate requires a minimum of 18 votes to win, TRS with a tally of 75 members in the Telangana Assembly can ensure a comfortable victory for four of its nominees, without any hitch. However, for the fifth nominee to sail through, the party falls short of as many as 15 members.

Thus,Rao’s gamble to field a fifth candidate has intrigued many in political circles. But,Rao seemed to be confident that with the backing of MIM, which has a strength of seven members in the Assembly, and also the support from each member of CPI, CPM, YSRCP and an independent, besides the expected “cross-voting,” might help TRS to pocket the fifth seat, too.

Despite being fully aware that if the move backfired, the ruling party’s image might get a beating for the worst, as the party had already suffered a set back in the recent MLC elections from the graduates constituency with the BJP-supported candidate wresting the seat, what prompted Rao to throw his hat in the ring is unknown.

Some in the political circles logically conclude that the decision of Rao to field the fifth candidate seemed to have been undoubtedly taken due to impulsive ego clash with a political vengeance rather than based on political diplomacy or maturity.

Clearly, the move is part of Rao’s one-upmanship game to score a point against his bête noire, as he had not heeded to the advice of many senior TRS leaders against fielding a fifth candidate.

It is a well-known fact that Rao and Naiduare bitter political enemies even before the southern Telugu State was divided into Telangana and AP States. Both do not see eye-to-eye on many issues and try to cross swords with other at every opportunity.

As a matter of fact,the bitterness between the two chief ministers had been steadily growing due to various factors concerning the development and welfare activities of their respective states.

From day one of taking the reins as chief minister of Telangana, Rao has vowed to wipeout TDP from the Telangana map. Accordingly, he had been maneuvering and encouraging TDP members to defect to TRS.

He had definitely succeeded in this matter as four TDP members jumped the ship and joined TRS reducing the yellow brigade’s strength from 15 to 11. What is more interesting is that Rao has diligently used his “akarshan” weapon to attract four members from Congress and two members each from BSP and YSR Congress Party and thus increasing the strength of TRS from 63 to 75.

The MLC elections slated for June 1 seemed to have provided yet another opportunity to Rao to take cudgels against his opponent Naidu and push him to the wall.

Based on the party’s strength, the TRS, after allocating 18 votes to each of its four nominees to ensure their victory, would fall short of 15 votes for the fifth candidate to win. Besidesits remaining three votes, the party is banking on the support of MIM, which has seven members. Still, TRS falls short of eight votes, and therefore, the party leadership is seeking the help of CPI, CPM, YSR Congress parties and an independent for the other four votes. It also seems to be banking on cross voting by the fence sitters of both Congress and TDP.

BJP is supporting the TDP, which has an effective strength of 11 members, with five votes. For the remaining two votes, the party leadership is in touch with the left parties for support.

The Congress with an effective strength of 18 members is sure of winning the seat.Yet, the party was not prepared to take any chances and trying to rope in members from non-TRS and non-BJP parties.

Whether Rao succeeds or not in this game with Naidu, the very fact is he had thrown his hat in the ring and has definitely ushered in “Ache Din“ for fence sitters of both Congress and TDP in helping them to get attention. Already, the horse-trading has begun with all the three contesting parties trying to “buy” as many votes as possible.

Here one cannot ignore the fact that the entry of the fifth nominee of the TRS is giving jitters not only to TDP but also to the Congress as the lure of the lucre can attract members from both the parties to indulge in cross voting. Having realized this, the Congress leadership has assigned its senior member and leader of opposition, Jana Reddy, to persuade the TRS to desist from fielding a fifth candidate and cooperate in making the election for the six seats unanimous. But,Rao having his own agenda up his sleeve turned down the plea.

All said and done the MLC election has become crucial for all the three contesting parties and has definitely attracted nation-wide attention. If Rao succeeds in his gamble by winning the fifth seat, then, it would sound death knell for both the TDP and Congress. In fact,TDP chances of getting decimated seem to be more under the prevailing circumstances.

However, if the TRS ploy fails to click then the pink party should think twice before indulging in such political gambling in the future.

-NSS

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