When it comes to Telangana, the BJP has only one issue to lure typical saffron-inclined voters and that is Hindutva. Other than Hindutva, the BJP has no merits to mention. Another factor would be Modi and the craze for him. Some sections of Hindus who are staunch followers of Modi will vote for the BJP but if you look at the larger picture, coming to power is not possible for the BJP.
This year’s Assembly election is seeing a brutal battle between the ruling BRS and Congress. There are many speculations that Congress can gain some seats here. The BJP’s vote share in Telangana might increase in 2023 compared to previous years but they will not be able to form a government. People prefer KCR because he was instrumental in achieving Telangana statehood. Unfortunately, the TDP and BJP joined hands in Andhra Pradesh in the 2014 elections. AIMIM and BJP are bitter enemies but silent mutual strategists. AIMIM helps the BJP cut votes.
KCR, daughter Kavitha, and son KTR, Nephew Harish, are the main players, and they have their grassroots homework; they know what Telangana wants. Since the formation of Telangana State in 2014, the people of Telangana have elected TRS in both the Assembly and Loksabha elections. Telangana has witnessed KCR rule as CM and his son KTR as Minister (locally, he is called shadow CM). Many leaders from BRS have expressed displeasure over the one-man show. At once, BRS took all the opposition MLAs and leaders into the party fold and now there is a rift between outsiders and the original party leaders. The TDP, which had won 15 seats in the 2014 Assembly Election, has lost ground in Telangana by conceding party leaders to either the TRS or Congress.
While Khammam district had a strong presence of the TDP, now it looks like Congress is gaining ground in this region due to the influx of other party leaders, and the KCR gave a careless statement on the arrest of Chandrababu Naidu, ex-CM of Andhra Pradesh, which is widely seen as a political dictum. KCR’s ambition to enter national politics, leaving Telangana CM Chair to his son KTR, is finding no takers. The BJP failed to build a party in rural areas. BJP local leadership lacks active participation in poll campaigning and depends heavily on central leadership. Moreover, Prakash Javadekar, the election in-charge, is a low-profile leader and not capable of changing the fate of the BJP in the state.
The BJP has failed to set an election narrative on which the people of Telangana can trust them. Many BJP leaders are on the verge of changing sides with Congress to see the defeat of BRS in the Assembly Election. The BJP party does not have a good cadre in all the regions of Telangana. They have limited party workers in a few areas only, and that too, there is no famous representation who has more face value or brand value in public where other parties have various people like Revanth Reddy and KCR. There is no prominent leader in opposition to match KCR. Even though there are leaders like Komati Reddy, Venkat Reddy, Revanth Reddy, and Jana Reddy, they are not able to show an impact throughout the state.
Congress has a good presence in rural areas but it is very weak in the old Hyderabad region, where BRS and AIMIM have a hold. Congress lacks leadership that can give a tough fight to BRS and AIMIM in the Old Hyderabad region on nearly 20 seats. The Telangana Congress is full of powerful Reddy leaders, but it lacks representation from Muslim leaders and backward classes. If Congress manages to attract backward class, SC, ST, and Muslim voters of at least 40 to 50%, it’ll win over BRS in the Assembly election in the present scenario.
In previous elections, TRS escaped anti-incumbency due to Congress’ illogical alliance with the TDP and going for early polls. BRS still has a good presence all over the state, which is positive in terms of being in contest in the majority of the constituencies. AIMIM’s internal support will help in getting Muslim votes for BRS, unless Congress campaigns effectively by projecting BRS as the “B Team” of the BJP. Lack of unity among the opposition and a split in anti-incumbency votes will help BRS.
BRS may come back to power for a straight third term with a simple majority, Congress may get some good seats, the BJP may stay in limited seats, and AIMIM, as usual, gets 7–8 seats in Hyderabad. If Congress gets a majority, then BRS may be restricted to less than 45 seats. In the Hung Assembly scenario, where both BRS and Congress may get around 50 seats and fall short of a majority, AIMIM may become the kingmaker with 7–8 seats. KCR’s dream of getting 100+ seats may not be fulfilled but TRS will form a government again.