Opinion: BRS may dent Congress votes in Maharashtra

The areas in Maharashtra from where the BRS is aiming to make an entry into national politics lie in Nanded, Yavatmal and Chandrapur districts.

By S. Harpal Singh  Published on  14 Feb 2023 2:30 AM GMT
Opinion: BRS may dent Congress votes in Maharashtra

Adilabad: The entry of the Bharat Rashtra Samiti (BRS) into the political firmament of Maharashtra has certainly raised the curiosity levels of people in that state with regard to the munificent welfare programmes that the party is implementing in its home state Telangana. Also being debated are the chances of the BRS making a mark in the ensuing local body elections in the neighbouring state, especially in the areas bordering old Adilabad and Nizamabad districts, from where it seeks to field its candidates.

The serious part of political discussions is centered around the source and number of votes that the pink party hopes to get riding on its populist plank. It is the Congress and its allies in the Mahavikas Aghadi, the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) and the Shiv Sena headed by former Chief Minister Uddhav Thakre, which would be the losers. The extent of loss, nevertheless, being very small, if the outcome of such discussions is any indication.

The areas in Maharashtra from where the BRS is aiming to make an entry into national politics lie in Nanded, Yavatmal and Chandrapur districts. These areas are considered to be the traditional strongholds not of the BJP but of the Congress and NCP, and it is to the vote bank of these parties that the BRS may cause a dent.

“Yes, the BRS will eat into the votes of our party but the extent will be negligible,” conceded Kandi Suryakant Reddy, the president of the Congress party in Kinwat taluka in the Assembly constituency also of the same name. He said a miniscule of Muslims, Scheduled Caste voters besides a handful of famers may get enticed by the Minority welfare programmes, the Dalit Bandhu and the Rythu Bandhu schemes.

Trying to buttress their contention that the effect of the BRS will be much smaller, political observers point out to the fact that the party failed to take into its fold any well-known leaders during its 5 February meeting which was addressed by its supremo and Telangana Chief Minister KCR. But for a former MLA, Rau Todasam from Arni-Kelapur constituency in Yavatmal district, only grassroots level politicians, mostly defeated sarpanches and others had become members of BRS.

Raju Todasam, a BJP rebel in the 2019 Assembly elections who ended up being the cause of defeat of the Congress veteran Shivajrao Moghe, was very confident of the BRS gathering its own voter base in the near future in Maharashtra. “People in the bordering areas are mighty influenced by the welfareprogrammes,” he observed.

“The Telangana welfare schemes in favour of farmers, minorities and SCs will definitely attract voters but the attraction will be limited to voters in the bordering areas only,” opined Dinesh Dhaiphale, NCP leader, also from Kinwat taluka, who is a director in the Nanded District Cooperative Central Bank. “The impact of BRS will further get limited when our people realise that the schemes are not going to be implemented as the BRS will never form a government in Maharashtra,” he underscored.

In the present state Assembly, the Congress holds four of the nine seats in Nanded while the BJP has three and two have gone to other smaller parties. Former Chief Minister of Maharashtra Ashok Rao Chavan, who is MLA from Bhokar constituency sharing borders with Nirmal district, has a firm grip on the politics in the area and will ensure that votes do not go astray in future elections, according to political observers.

It may be added that the MVA rules the 63-member Zilla Parishad and Municipal Corporation in Nanded. Likewise, the party is in the driving seat in Yavatmal ZP. Ravinder Singh Modi, a senior journalist and political observer in Nanded, was of the opinion that the BRS will not be able to fit itself into the Maratha politics that rules the area. He was hinting at the hold that the Chavan family (the late Shankar Rao Chavan is the father of Ashok Rao) has nurtured over the area since a long time.

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