As the leads in the counting of votes indicate a clear trend has been thrown up by the just concluded MLC election in Telangana in line with the results of the Dubbaka Assembly byelection and GHMC election.

The TRS' strength to steal the show appears to be depleting slowly. A challenge to the authority of TRS is taking birth, though the shape which still remains unpredictable.TRS candidates Palla Rajeswar Reddy (Nalgonda segment) and Surabhi Vani Devi (Hyderabad segment) are all set to emerge victorious but, their nearest rivals are virulent anti-KCR elements.

The election outcome will embolden them to sharpen their attack on chief minister KCR and his style of governance.

All the veterans of the Telangana movement such as Prof Kodandaram, G Chinna Reddy, Prof Nageswar, and Dr. Cheruku Sudhakar, etc could not connect with the voters. Their criticism against KCR could not radiate with voters. Telangana graduates voters favored populist rivals against chief minister KCR's populism rather than the intellectuals. At the time of writing this report, while Teenmar Mallan stood second in the Nalgonda segment, Surabhi Vani was in the lead in the Hyderabad segment.

Another important aspect of the MLC election is that Congress, Telangana Jana Samiti, and Telugu Desam Party have failed miserably to prove that they are still a force to reckon with and would work for the realization of Dream Telangana vis a viz Bangaru Telangana of KCR.

BJP, a populist critic of KCR, fared better than these parties. This will prompt the saffron party to work with renewed vigor in the by-election to the Nagarjuna Sagar Assembly seat.

The second-best performer in the Nalgonda segment is Teenmar Mallana who is known for his scathing campaign against chief minister KCR braving the repressive measure unleashed by the police.

As the counting trend proves, this appears to have made him a hero in the eyes of the public. He occupied the second position after TRS' Palla pushing even Prof Kodandaram to a third position.

The graduate voters of the six districts are convinced that barring BJP, all opposition parties do not have the wherewithal to challenge the mighty TRS led by street-smart KCR.

Curiously, Professor M Koddandram, the person who led the later phase of the Telangana movement and noted political commentator Prof K Nageswar also failed to measure up to the expectations of the voters. They are ending up a poor third or so in the elections where voters are educated-youth.

The same is the case with Dr. G Chinna Reddy, Congress candidate from the Hyderabad-Ranga Reddy- Mahabubnagar segment. Dr. Reddy, a doctorate in Agricultural Sciences, a no-nonsense practitioner of politics is eminently eligible to represent the graduates of Telangana. TDP representative L Ramana still finds it difficult to revive, at least to some extent, the lost image of the party in the state.

Certainly, the presence of Prof Kodandaram, Prof Nageshwar, Cheruku Sudhakar and Dr. Chinna Reddy would have enhanced the prestige of the upper house. Their election would have gone a long way in raising the public issues as well as highlighting the failures of the TRS government with enlightened debates in the House. It is definitely a missed opportunity for the state to not have elected these gentlemen-intellectuals to the Legislative Council.

But, it is the popular perception that matters more in the elections. The educated voters of the state appear to have inclined to watch more than mere enlightened debates and the ability to preserve the decency and decorum in politics. Clearly, they are in favor of Teenmar Mallanna-type and BJP-style aggression and ferocity would alone match the disarming street-smartness of chief minister KCR.

The win of TRS nominees, Palla Rajeshwar Reddy (Nalgonda-Warangal-Khammam segment) and Surabhi Vani (Hyderabad-Ranga Reddy-Mahabubnagar segment) cannot be termed at any rate a cakewalk. Much to the disappointment of bosses, the ruling party's candidates are not able to bag the seats with a thumping margin. The fact that the win with the second or third preference votes speaks volumes of the churning going on beneath the veneer of Telangana Rashtra Samiti's celebratory politics

Jinka Nagaraju

Jinka Nagaraju is a Hyderabad based journalist. He covered the entire spectrum of political activities of Telugu states from Hyderabad and New Delhi for about 3 decades. He represented Vaartha in New Delhi during the most happening decade of 1996-2006. He was the political correspondent of Times of India from Hyderabad for 10 years. He was editor of Asianet's Telugu digital platform.

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