Demand for Telangana has been there for years going as back to 1969. Biggest advocate of Telangana K. Chandrasekhar Rao formed Telangana Rashtriya Samiti (TRS) in 2001. Congress (UPA I) came to power in 2004 and creation of Telangana was in its election manifesto. But Congress didn’t fulfill its promise as usual!
Congress (UPA II) came back to power in 2009 and bagged 33 seats in Andhra Pradesh riding on good work done by its Chief Minister YSR Reddy. YSR died in a helicopter crash just after the elections triggering a political uncertainty. His son Jagan staked claim to become Chief Minister. Congress denied him CMship. Party split. TRS stepped up the pressure to create Telangana. While Congress new CM Kiran Reddy, Jagan and Naidu opposed the creation of a separate Telangana, BJP always supported Telangana. Congress continued its dilly dally.
Meanwhile BJP announced Modi as its Election Campaign Head. Modi was holding big rallies and creating wave. Strong anti incumbency meant Congress would do very badly in Seemandhra which was estimated to be swpet by Jagan / Naidu. In Telangana, TRS would sweep. Plus Modi was to hold a rally in Hyderabad in August 2013 and possibly announce creation of Telangana if BJP came to power. Congress was expected to get < 5 seats in united Andhra. With no hope in Seemandhra, Congress played the ploy of announcing separate creation of Telangana to get some seats there. Purely a political decision so that at-least it gets some seats in Telengana. In July 2013 (2.5 years after Srikrishna Committee submitted its recommendations), Congress announced creation of a separate Telangana state.
Please refer tohttp://www.thehindu.com/news/national/timeline-telangana/article5702786.ece for timeline of Telangana movement.
Now the state creation has been cleared in both Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha. Kiran Reddy, CM of Congress has resigned. Jagan has taken protest to streets. Telangana will have 17 Lok Sabha seats and Seemandhra 25. Its doubtful that the process of separate Telangana creation will be completed before Lok Sabha.
Historical Performance of Parties in Lok Sabha
Andhra Pradesh, a southern state sends 42 members to Lok Sabha (8% of its total strength). Hence it is a crucial state and plays a key role in government formation. It has been a Congress bastion with regional parties like Telgu Desam Party (NT Ramarao / Chandrababu Naidu) and gaining some prominence since 1980s. Telangana Rashtriya Samiti (TRS) has also of late gained some traction due to demand of separate statehood of Telangana region.
Source: Statistical Reports, Election Commission of India
What does it mean for various political parties in Andhra?
There are 5 principal parties in Andhra – Congress, BJP, TDP (Naidu), TRS (Rao) % YSR Congress (Jagan). Plus Kiran Reddy who resigned as CM is expected to float his own new political party. This makes it 6 parties. 2 of them including to be floated Kiran’s party will be participating in Lok Sabha elections for the first time.
TDP and TRS are opposed to creation of Telangana so they won’t get any seats there. Congress, BJP and TRS support Telangana so they won’t get any seats in Seemandhra.
Telangana (17 seats)
Congress, TRS and BJP are the major parties here. All of them would try to take credit for creation of Telangana. TRS holds the key here to UPA and NDA fortunes. Whoever, Rao allies with will get majority seats in the state. He is a wily and unpredictable character. TRS has been in both UPA and NDA govt. earlier. Options for TRS include:
1. Ally with Congress or merge with it: Rao had earlier indicated that he would merge his party with Congress if it forms Telangana. Congress is wooing TRS and wants it to fulfill his promise. Rao could merge or retain his separate identity and ally with Congress in return for CM chair. However, he knows that this could favour Congress more than him.
2. Ally with BJP: BJP is also wooing TRS. For Rao this is also not a bad option as BJP is less of a threat in the state than Congress, plus anyway BJP would also offer him CM chair. Additionally, BJP is expected to form govt. at the center and he could get some ministries for his son and other leaders if he goes with BJP. He is a cunning man and believes in “Yeh Dil maange more”. He could go the Mulayam way and make his son CM plus bag an important ministry at Center.
3. Fight LS polls independently: He could remain neutral keep his options open to see post poll scenario. If BJP doesn’t form govt. at the center he will lose out in a Third Front govt. comes to power.
For Congress prospects are definitely better than united Andhra. If it gets TRS it could add 12-15 seats to its kitty.
For BJP it is the beginning of a journey to emerge as a major force in the state and occupy power sometime in the long run. In the short term TRS on its side could help it to bridge the shortage in Lok Sabha.
Seemandhra (25 seats)
Here people are angry with Congress / BJP for creating Telangana. The fight will be between TDP and YSR Congress. BJP was hoping to ally with TDP and vice-a-versa but this looks dim now. Both BJP and Congress will be decimated here. Silver lining for BJP is that TDP / YSR may provide it support post polls. Jagan needs some reprieve from CBI. Plus having BJP on their side will strengthen both the parties in their fight against each other in state assembly elections. Both Jagan and Naidu are strong contenders for CM post in new state and there could be intense competition among themselves to get BJP on board.
New party of Kiran Reddy could get 1 or 2 seats (including himself) and not make much impact.
Key factor here would be when do state elections take place and when does Telangana officially get created. Unlikely before Lok Sabha elections I feel….