The Telangana assembly polls on December 7 will be a crucial test for the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), which is contesting alone unlike in 2014, to gain a foothold in the southern state ahead of the 2019 Lok Sabha elections. In 2014, the BJP fought the polls along with the Telugu Desam Party (TDP) and won five seats out of the 119 at stake. All the five–Uppal, Musheerabad, Amberpet, Goshamahal and LB Nagar constituencies–were in Hyderabad.
Although the ruling TRS and the Congress-led grand alliance ‘Praja Kutami’ which also comprised the TDP, the Telangana Jana Samithi (TJS) and the CPI appear to be the main rivals in most of the assembly seats, the BJP is making a determined bid to make its presence felt and increase the seat tally in the country’s newest state formed in 2014. Poll analysts said the BJP could also hurt the prospects of the Congress in a few assembly segments.
The elections are being mainly fought on local issues with the performance of the Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) government coming under intense scrutiny. TRS got a majority in 2014 riding on the wave of the emotional Telangana sentiment.
“BJP has a stronghold in Telangana. Traditionally, our voter share has been high in the Hyderabad region. Definitely, our percentage of votes will increase this time,” BJP national general secretary P Muralidhar Rao told PTI.