In a bid to replicate the electoral success witnessed in Karnataka, the Telangana Congress is strategically focusing on the upcoming polls, drawing inspiration from the Karnataka Congress’ triumph in the May Assembly elections.
With an eye on crucial voting blocs, the Telangana Pradesh Congress Committee (TPCC) recently unveiled the ‘Minority Declaration’ and leveraged the ‘BC Declaration’ released by Karnataka Chief Minister Siddaramaiah.
Historical voting patterns in Telangana reveal the pivotal role of the Muslim community, with the ruling Bharat Rashtra Samithi (BRS) securing victory in the 2014 and 2018 Assembly polls with significant Muslim support, around 75 percent.
Recognizing this, the TPCC has crafted separate mini manifestoes for Muslims and Backward Classes (BC) voters, strategically aligning with the successful model employed in Karnataka.
The emphasis on targeted declarations stems from an analysis by election strategist Sunil Kanugolu, who highlighted the imperative of wooing minorities for the Congress to regain power.
Kanugolu, known for his role in formulating game-changing guarantees for the Karnataka Congress, has put forth a set of six guarantees for the TPCC.
The TPCC’s ‘Minority Declaration’ outlines a substantial increase in the minority welfare budget to Rs 4,000 crore, introducing a dedicated minority sub-plan.
The declaration also promises financial provisions for newly wed couples from minority communities and monthly honorariums for priests from all religions.
Simultaneously, the ‘BC Declaration’ aims to secure the support of the backward classes. Pledging to increase reservations based on caste census and BC Commission recommendations within six months of assuming power, the declaration proposes an elevation of BC reservation to 42 percent from the existing 23 percent in local bodies.
Specific promises for various BC communities further strengthen the appeal to this crucial voting bloc.
While the ruling BRS under Chief Minister K Chandrashekar Rao boasts welfare schemes and subsidies, discontent lingers among some sections.
Political observers point to the TPCC’s proactive approach, led by Sunil Kanugolu, who believes that the Congress, with its guarantees and targeted declarations, can sway voters disenchanted with the current regime.
Professor Afroz Alam of Maulana Azad National Urdu University notes that the political landscape in Telangana differs from Karnataka, where anti-BJP sentiments fueled a desire for change.
In Telangana, the BRS has maintained communal harmony, but discontent arises from the perceived lack of benefits from government schemes.
As the election narrative unfolds, the Congress aims to capitalize on the discontent and position itself as a viable alternative. The battle for minority votes intensifies, with the Congress eyeing a significant increase in Muslim support, potentially altering the electoral landscape in Telangana.
The success of this strategic approach will unfold on November 30, as voters determine the trajectory of the state’s political future.