The Congress in Telangana may have gone all guns blazing in the past few months against the ruling Bharat Rashtra Samithi (BRS) to overthrow them. However, lack of strong candidates on several seats is seen to be impeding the party’s electoral prospects in the state.
The Congress seems to be riding on an increased momentum in Telangana, boosted by the Karnataka Assembly election win early this year. Some leaders in the party have suggested that the recent Congress Working Committee (CWC) meeting has also boosted the spirits of the rank and file in the state and created an upward momentum for the party to win the elections.
Earlier, before Karnataka elections, the party leaders in Telangana would suggest very low win rate of Congress leaders with seats not more than 15 for the Congress. After the Karnataka win, however, the party has gained on the “perception” front. Surveys and internal reports have suggested the Congress could pocket around 40 seats. However, there are several constituencies where the party has been weak due to lack of strong faces. For example, there are around 22 seats out of the 25 Assembly segments in greater Hyderabad, where the grand old party does not have any challenging candidate who could contest and contest neck to neck. On the condition of anonymity, a senior BRS leader said, “They lack strong candidates on majority seats. There is sort of a rumour being spread that the Congress is winning more than 55 seats. But that is not true. It is just a rumour being spread from the top. However, their tally improving from before the Karnataka elections is valid.”
Venkat Swami, Congress spokesperson in Telangana, told The Sunday Guardian, “It is not true that we have weak candidates. We are completely in control of a majority of seats and there is no way that the party does not have strong candidates. We have got very strong candidates and we are planning to win the elections.”
A political analyst in the state said, “A particular candidate should be a mass leader on his own turf so that he can have more acceptance in his area which can help turn the people listening to him into his and Congress’ voters. But such type of ecosystem within the party is missing on majority of the seats. Therefore, it would be unwise to think that the party can rout the BRS. Though, it is politics and there will always be chances favourable for Congress. Yet, BRS seems winning the elections easily if the elections happen now.”