Why ruling parties in AP, Telangana are not cheering Congs thumping win in Karnataka

Why ruling parties in AP, Telangana are not cheering Cong's thumping win in Karnataka

For the ruling parties of Telugu states, the Bharat Rashtra Samiti (BRS) in Telangana and the YSR Congress in Andhra Pradesh, the outcome of the Karnataka Assembly election looks not so exciting.

While the immediate reaction from the BRS was that the Karnataka verdict would have no bearing on Telangana, the YSRC chose to remain silent, clearly reflecting its uneasiness following the setback Prime Minister Narendra Modi suffered in the state.

The BRS leadership is upset because something quite unexpected happened in the election. The BRS had never expected a poor performance by the Janata Dal (Secular). Similarly, it could not sense such a stunning victory for the Congress, its main rival in Telangana.

What the BRS had anticipated was that the election would throw up a hung assembly where JD-S, which had its blessings, would assume the role of a kingmaker. The calculations went awry. Now, the BRS’ worry is that the Karnataka result is certain to enthuse and energize the Congress in Telangana in more than one way.

KCR upset

Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao is said to have cautioned the BRS leaders about the possibility of the Congress becoming aggressive in the state following Karnataka’s victory.

Amid the reports of a Congress surge in Karnataka, KCR is said to have reviewed the situation with a few senior BRS leaders on Sunday. Voicing his rejoice at BJP’s defeat, he reportedly expressed disappointment over the JD-S’ poor record.

Watch: The Federal Webinar: Decoding Karnataka poll results

“In Telangana, the Congress remains our main rival. The Karnataka election is expected to excite the Telangana Congress to launch an aggressive attack on the government. So, the BRS needs to effectively counter the Congress campaign,” Rao reportedly told the leaders at the meeting.

Telangana, IT Minister and BRS working President K Taraka Ramarao reacted on Twitter: “Just the way the Kerala Story failed to amuse people of Karnataka, similarly Karnataka elections results will have NO bearing on Telangana.”

Ramarao, who is popular as KTR, thanked the people of Karnataka “for rejecting ugly and divisive politics”.

While conveying best wishes to the new Congress government, KTR said: “Let Hyderabad and Bengaluru compete healthily for investments and creating infrastructure for the greater good of India.”

Congress celebrates

Meanwhile, the Telangana Congress celebrated the victory, hoping Karnataka result would become a morale booster to the party. The party, which lost two elections despite the fact that party president Sonia Gandhi was responsible for the statehood status of Telangana, has been in shambles.

Many MLAs and MLCs quit the party to join the BRS while a few staunch anti-KCR leaders like DK Aruna migrated to BJP. The party faced a rout in the elections to local bodies.

The Congress cadre is confused about the future of the party. The faction-ridden grand old party is not able to contain the erosion of confidence. So, the party views the Karnataka victory as a turning point.

Telangana PCC president A Revanth Reddy said Telangana would see a replay of Karnataka in December 2023. The defeat of the JD-S in Karnataka was the defeat of KCR, he told the media.

Party chief spokesperson Kalva Sujatha said the Karnataka Congress had evolved a campaign model to counter oppressive governments and it was proven successful.

“Like Karnataka, Telangana also has been the victim of corruption, misgovernance and unemployment for the past four and half years under KCR’s regime. The two states not only share a long border but also many affinities. The Congress has emerged victorious in constituencies all along the border which led to the defeat of BJP in Karnataka.  A similar eruption of anger against the BRS government is not far-fetched,” Sujatha said.

The BJP took a curious stand over Karnataka. State BJP president Bandi Sanjay said: “Our vote bank in Karnataka is intact. The Congress won at the cost of JD-S which lost 7 percent votes to Congress. Now, BRS and Congress are expected to join to take on BJP in Telangana. But It won’t deter the BJP.”

Andhra disquiet  

Andhra’s main political parties are clueless about how to react to the awkward situation thrown up by the Karnataka election. Like the ruling YSR Congress, an undeclared ally of BJP, the opposition Telugu Desam Party and Pawan Kalyan’s Janasena too, maintained a cautious silence on Karnataka.

All these parties are not able to digest the fact that the BJP lost despite Prime Minister Narendra Modi going all-out to win the election. This embarrassing development took place at a time when the TDP and Janasena were anxiously waiting for a signal from the BJP high command for a tie-up.

For TDP president Chandrababu Naidu, the BJP defeat is much more disconcerting because It was after the 2018 Karnataka election that Naidu turned anti-Modi.

Also Read: After Karnataka win, Congress faces tough job of picking CM

In March 2018, Naidu had pulled out his two ministers from Modi’s cabinet and quit the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) as he perceived Modi’s magic was on the wane.

After the Karnataka Assembly election when BJP failed to get a majority, Naidu intensified his efforts to cobble up an anti-Modi front at the Centre. In the process he had met Rahul Gandhi also.

Andhra U-turn

Around the same time, Pawan Kalyan was also going hammer and tongs at Modi for alleged discrimination against South India. But their strategies met with a miserable failure in 2019. In a complete turnaround, both Naidu and Pawan regretted their mistake after the 2019 general elections and concluded that Modi was invincible.

Though BJP has condoned Pawan Kalyan, Naidu has not had that luck yet, forcing him to remain silent on the verdict of Karnataka now. He cannot congratulate even the people, if not the Congress he once allied with, as it would rub the BJP on the wrong side.

But the Andhra Congress, which drew a blank in 2019 elections in the Assembly, celebrated the Karnataka victory by cutting a cake in the party office in Vijayawada. PCC president Gidugu Radraraju hoped that the Congress win in Karnataka would pave the path for the revival of the party Andhra. The only other parties which welcomed the BJP defeat in Karnataka are the Left parties.

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