It has been 8 years since the Bharatiya Janata Party rose to power in the country. If you ask the latest supporter of the BJP, “why do you vote for the party?”, don’t be surprised if the reply is “who else do I vote for? Do you want me to vote for Rahul Gandhi?” Myriad opinions transpire on whether Congress can withstand the growing power of the BJP. Can no one in this country’s political arena that could counter the BJP’s growth? Well, the answer points out to increasing activity of regional parties in the national power politics, including Bengal’s Mamata Banerjee, Delhi’s Arvind Kejriwal, Tamil Nadu’s Stalin, and Telangana’s KCR. It is for sure that the growing BJP opposition in these states is pushing the ruling regional parties to take on the BJP on the national front, hinting at forming a ‘Federal Front’ as a new alternative to congress in striking down the BJP.
Amidst the growing aspirations of these parties, it’s never an easy task to turn the tables.
On Friday, KCR takes on a multi-state tour, definitely hinting down to take his party beyond the boundaries of his state. However, the growing political opposition back in the state is a major hurdle for the party to earn numbers in the 2024 elections.
Bandi Sanjay, Theenmar Mallanna and Telengana BJP
In 2014, the BJP was nowhere in state politics. Its sudden and prominent rise in state politics got a lot to do with the rise of Bandi Sanjay Kumar who rose from the ranks of a corporation at the municipal level to lead the party as a president. His dominance is very much evident from the TRS’s strategy in dealing with him. Initially, leaders of the TRS never even bothered to mention his name in any press conference of the party. But now no public meeting of the TRS fails to address Bandi Sanjay’s divisive communal politics, which came to light after his intent to conduct a surgical strike in the Muslim populated areas of the old city, during 2019 Hyderabad Municipal Corporation elections. Besides, it’s evident that the districts of northern Telangana have fallen to the growing influence of the party and it’s a state of worry for the TRS, considering the majority of its prominent leaders hales from the same region.
Chintapandu Naveen Kumar popularly known by his screen name Theenmar Mallanna is an independent journalist by profession and above all a staunch Ambedkarite who pledged to take down the ruling TRS ever since it came into power in 2014. Mallanna’s presence in the state politics is the first of its kind in any state in India because “when is the last time you have seen a journalist in a state, reporting every daily move of the Government in the morning news that he telecasts every day on his popular YouTube channel Q news”. His reports on the growing misuse of lands in the state fetched him considerable attention from the public and made him a man capable of turning the tide of public opinion against the state. However, his move to join BJP after his arrest by the state police received criticism. He claims to have retained his distinctive ideology and considers it a strategic move to join the party.
Revanth Reddy and state Congress
It’s often a popular perception that any state Congress party cannot escape from the influence of the leaders at the central level, restricting their freedom to take control of the state issues as they wish to do so. However, the decision to make an ex-Telugu Desam party member Revanth Reddy, the chief of state Congress has brought a wave of revival.
It’s evident from the recent ‘Chalo Warangal’ meeting that the Congress high command had put its full trust in Revanth’s leadership in dealing with the party’s senior members, internal struggles, and the strategy for upcoming elections. Besides, Revanth’s entry into the congress fetched the party a greater revival in the Southern Telangana, which the ruling TRS no longer considers a strong opposition.
What is at stake for the TRS?
Amidst all the changing political climate, TRS shows its faith in the welfare schemes it had initiated throughout the years. KCR’s TRS which has its origins in the Telangana movement still holds on to the popular support among the rural areas, which constitutes 61per cent of the population of Telangana. Bandi Sanjay-led Praja Sangrama Yatra is one latest measure of the leading opposition to counter TRS’s strong rural base.
The political scenario and growing competition in the state debunked the age-old perception of erstwhile leaders of the united Andhra Pradesh, that the people of Telangana are incapable of ruling themselves. The growing activity of different leadership groups proves this opinion wrong. The current political scenario in Telangana will make the upcoming elections one of its kind with the potential to influence politics on the national front too.
The author is a student at Ramjas College, Delhi University. Views are personal