Hyderabad: "Saalu Dora-Selavu Dora" vs "Bye Bye Modi" rant has hit Telangana politics as the ruling TRS and the Opposition BJP intensify their war of words in the game of one-upmanship in the state. State BJP's "Saalu Dora-Selavu Dora" – the TRS countdown clock at the state BJP office premises meaning "Enough feudal landlord-goodbye feudal landlord" – hit the TRS raw nerve!
In addition, with the BJP's national executive meet in Hyderabad nearing and Chief Minister K. Chandrasekhar Rao deciding to float a national party, a no holds barred war of words has hit a new low between TRS, BJP, and Congress. Turmoil in Maharashtra where over 40 Shiv Sena MLAs deserted the party in the Maha Vikas Aghadhi government comprising of Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) and Congress has added fuel to fire and created a stir among anti-BJP parties.
Though Congress, NCP, and others parties blame BJP for the trouble in Maharashtra, BJP denies any role. In fact, the Maharashtra episode has raised alarm bells in non-BJP ruled states and the leadership there is on high alert fearing poaching by BJP. BJP, which has launched a multi-pronged attack against TRS and Congress, has set its eyes on the South beginning with Telangana as the "gateway" to victory in the next Assembly elections and building up a pro-BJP environment.
The recent win in some Assembly elections and by-polls gave the BJP a shot in the arm even as the party is trying to spread its wings and going all out in Opposition-ruled states like Maharashtra, Telangana, West Bengal, Tamil Nadu, etc.
In Telangana, vociferous state BJP president Bandi Sanjay who has raised the political temperature since his appointment promises to expose Chief Minister KCR and the TRS government's follies and corruption in the run-up to the polls. On the other hand, Telangana Pradesh Congress Committee president A. Revanth Reddy slams both TRS and BJP's war of words as "drama," accusing them of match-fixing to keep Congress at bay! Though the TRS government is sitting pretty, the recent infighting and desertions by some leaders to Congress and BJP forced the KCR government to take stock of the situation, though TRS leaders say KCR is in full control of the state and the party.
Of late, many senior TRS leaders quit the party, including MP D. Srinivas, minister Etala Rajender, ex-MLA Payam Venkateshwarulu, Gattu Ramachandra Rao, Khairtabad corporator P. Vijaya Reddy, and ex-MLA of Chennur Nallala Odelu due to differences with party leaders, fear of not getting MLA tickets, and party leadership ignoring them. More desertions to rival parties are expected before the polls.
Municipal administration minister and TRS working president K.T Rama Rao had to intervene to pacify warring factions in some districts, including former minister Jupally Krishna Rao and sitting MLA B. Harshavardhan Reddy in Kollapur. Their feud has come out in the open causing a dent in the party in the district. Almost every Assembly and Parliament constituency is facing dissidence among rival parties.
TPCC president A. Revanth Reddy, who completed one year as party chief, has put up a brave front despite facing trouble within the party, especially from some seniors from day one. While some seniors are sulking because the party high command appointed a junior, Revanth Reddy can take on the might of both TRS and BJP with his acerbic tongue and by attracting rival leaders into the party, especially youth. "Mr. Revanth Reddy is playing a dangerous game of propping up his confidents in some of the constituencies. This has upset local leaders. He doesn't consult seniors. Of course, the party is now able to take on both TRS and BJP," revealed a senior party leader. He added, "Congress has a much stronger base than BJP going by the 2018 Assembly elections. Even now you find committed Congress cadre in every constituency down to the locality."
The political environment in Telangana which goes to the polls in 2023 has heated up, more so with the national BJP executive meet. BJP has unleashed a social media blitz to fix Chief Minister K. Chandrasekhar Rao and the TRS government and shed a poor light on its governance by highlighting nepotism, the power struggle in the family, and corrupt practices. Though it has made serious allegations of corruption in Kaleshwaram and other projects, it has failed to provide concrete evidence to date. "We will expose the TRS government at the national executive meeting to be held in Hyderabad. Prime Minister Narendra Modi and BJP national leaders will reveal what the Centre has given to the state and what it will do in the future," N. Ramachander Rao, BJP's national executive member and former MLC says.
Taking strong exception to BJP's countdown clock, TRS MLA Balka Suman warned that if the party fails to remove the clock immediately, they will install images of Prime Minister Narendra Modi with a "garland of slippers."
Says TRS MLA Vivekanand, "It's Modi who behaves like dora (feudal lord) while people treat KCR their "devudu" (God) for his pro-poor policies." Battle lines are drawn in Telangana with all the three main political parties – TRS, Congress, and BJP – going all out against one another to gain a stranglehold and win the polls.
In the 2018 Assembly elections, TRS won 88 seats out of 119 and polled 46.87% of the total votes polled. Congress which contested 99 seats won 19 and polled 28.43% votes while BJP contested 117 seats and won only one seat and polled 6.98% votes. Telugu Desam party contested 13 and won two, polling 3.51% votes and AIMIM contested eight seats and won seven, polling 2.71% votes.