Telangana politics was dominated by the regional party Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) with 87 seats and 34 percent vote share. The nearest political rival Indian National Congress (INC) has 13 seats with 25 percent vote share. The difference in the numbers both in the terms of seats and the vote share shows that the TRS is the most dominant player in the state. In the state where we have presence of five strong political parties the TRS commands a lion share. The other key political parties – Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has 5 seats and 7 percent vote share, Telugu Desam Party (TDP) has 3 seats and 14.5 percent vote share, and All India Majlis-e-Ittehad-ul Muslimeen (AIMIM) has 7 seats with 3.7 percent vote share. It will be only right to say that these parties are of significant importance but insignificant vote share in the state politics. The combed vote share of BJP, TDP, and AIMIM barely add up to match vote share of INC, which is distant second in the state.
The 2014 election TRS won only 63 seats but over time MLAs from the INC and TDP deflected to the ruling party increasing its seat share to 87. It is important to mention that the two key parties TDP and INC have been facing the leadership issues and could not keep the flock together. In the last three years 12 TDP MLAs and 8 INC MLAs defected to the ruling TRS. During the same time, the popularity of the TRS has been growing over years and not only the citizens but also the legislators have shown confidence and trust in the TRS leadership.
Till recently Telangana political landscape has been very dry without any mega political action. The state enjoyed the monopolistic dominance of TRS but the dynamics is about to change now as Revanth Reddy has joining INC. Revanth Reddy did not join INC alone he has joined the party with 14 other TDP leaders, including ex-ministers, ex-MLAs and ex-MLCs. This move, no doubt, is set to change the dynamics of the state politics. It is believed that the environment has become very energetic, and we will witness high political drama and aggressive political action soon. It is widely believed that the firebrand politician Revanth Reddy is capable of challenging the political dominance of the TRS.
Revanth Reddy a Firebrand Leader
For all those who don’t know much about Revanth Reddy, here is a brief note on Revanth Reddy. He represented Kodangal assembly segment. He has been a mass leader and working president of Telangana-TDP. He started his political career as AVBP leader and soon joined TRS to fulfill his political ambitions in 2003. As a young leader, he contested for MLC from Mahbubnagar district as an independent candidate and won it. In 2005 he joined TDP and with the help of his firebrand politics and soon emerged as one of the key leaders in Telangana political landscape. Under the guidance of Chandrababu Naidu, Revanth Reddy dominated the political landscape for 12 years. Over years he became the dominant force in the party.
Damaging the prospect of TDP
It will not be wrong to say that the move has created a vacuum in the TDP leadership in the state. It will hurt Chandrababu Naidu’s dream of winning back Hyderabad from TRS when the state goes to polls in 2019. The party that claims of one million active members in the state will now have to find an aggressive leader who is capable of challenging Revanth Reddy in the state.
Bringing life to INC
Revanth Reddy believes that there is a need to build a broader political front to dislodge the K. Chandrasekhar Rao government. He claims that he left TDP and joined INC as he wants to free the state from the clutches of TRS and KCR family. He also proposes to undertake padayatra across Telangana State to ignite the KCR family free Telangana vision.
The shift of the firebrand leader Revanth Reddy from TDP to the second largest party in the state – INC will not only strengthen the party leadership but also infuse new life in the grassroot workers morale. It is widely discussed that if INC and Revanth Reddy manage the state politics well, the party will soon emerge as the alternative to the TRS in the state. The grand old party, INC is busy putting a plan in place in Telangana to regroup itself in the hope that it will help build the much needed momentum for the party. The party hopes to resurrect itself in Telangana with the help of firebrand leadership of Revanth Reddy.
Impacting the BJP’s Growth Plan
Not only INC but all other political parties believe that Revanth Reddy will change the fortunes of INC in the state. This move on the one hand strengthens INC in the state on the other hand is also a major snub for the BJP. This is also of huge political relevance to BJP as the party has been showing signs of going solo in the 2019 elections and working hard to build up a larger base for itself in the state. In last few months the BJP has been working hard to establish itself as an alternative to the TRS. The BJP was also hoping that all prominent leaders who wants to bring in change and are looking for any alternate party to join the cause would join BJP. Revanth Reddy joining INC will definitely make other leaders rethink their plans now.
The critique of BJP has started to claim that the party has no relevance in Telangana and soon a few prominent leaders from the party may also join INC. There is also discussion in the power corridors that senior leader Nagam Janardhan Reddy too might take the Revanth Reddy route and walk over to the INC.
Challenging TRS Dominance
It is also discussed that a few TRS members may also join INC soon. As propagated by the political enthusiasts, if the mass migration happens in favour of INC this can definitely be seen as a major political development in the state. I don’t believe that Revanth Reddy episode will have huge impact on the TRS or BJP brand of politics. If I have to go by the popular belief, the TRS has been doing good job and it is not facing any anti incumbency in the state. Moreover, the second generation leaders like K. T. Rama Rao, T. Harish Rao, and K. Kavitha have positioned themselves as progressive leaders and have been working hand in hand with K. Chandrashekar Rao to promote the party.
Task Ahead is Not Easy
The job in hands of Revanth Reddy is not easy as he has to match the political experience of K. Chandrashekar Rao, defy the on ground presence of T. Harish Rao, challenge the progressive and global image of K. T. Rama Rao, and the women power of the K. Kavitha. TRS is deep rooted in Telangana winning the trust of the voters over the ruling party is not easy. Revanth Reddy will also face challenge of survival from the leaders of BJP and TDP. Though the roads ahead is rocky and rough to triumph the firebrand leader, Revanth Reddy is ready for the task.