Political temperature soars in Telangana as parties warm up for 2023 state polls

There is still one-and-a-half years to go for Assembly elections in Telangana but the hectic activities by the main parties are already raising the political dust and heat in the state.

Already in the grip of heat wave conditions, Telangana is also witnessing a rise in political temperatures with the main contenders for power and even the smaller parties vying with each other to catch the public attention.

Padyatras or foot marches, foundation day celebrations and rallies by top leaders have already created a poll-like atmosphere in Telangana, where Assembly elections are due towards 2023-end.

Aiming for a hat-trick of electoral victories, the Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) is gearing up for the fight with foundation day celebrations next week while confident of wresting power, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) is in the midst of a padyatra by its state unit chief Bandi Sanjay.

Looking to regain the lost ground in its former stronghold, the Congress party will be joining the bandwagon with its leader Rahul Gandhi scheduled to address a public rally in Warangal on May 6.

Bandi Sanjay on April 14 embarked on the second leg of his Praja Sangrama Yatra with a bitter attack on the TRS government. During the month-long foot march, Bandi Sanjay will cover 385 kilometres in five districts. He will pass through 105 villages in 10 Assembly constituencies.

Sanjay, who is also a Member of Parliament from Karimnagar, will walk 10-15 km every day to interact with people to know their problems. Several union ministers and chief ministers of BJP-ruled states will join the yatra.

The second leg of the yatra will conclude on May 14 at Maheshwaram in Ranga Reddy district. He has invited Union Home Minister Amit Shah for the concluding programme.

The first phase of the yatra had started in Hyderabad in August 2021. It lasted for 36 days covering 19 Assembly constituencies and half a dozen Parliamentary constituencies in eight districts.

According to BJP central leader and in-charge of party affairs in Telangana, Tarun Chugh, the yatra is aimed at liberating Telangana from family rule and to achieve “Golden Telangana” with double engine growth.

However, Bandi Sanjay is not the only politician currently undertaking a padyatra. YSR Telangana Party (YSRTP) leader Y. S. Sharmila is already on a ‘Praja Prasthanam’ padyatra to know the people’s problems.

Sharmila, sister of Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Y. S. Jagan Mohan Reddy, had launched the padyatra from Chevella on October 20 but had to suspend it due to the election code in force for the Legislative Council elections and the third wave of Covid-19. She resumed her walkathon on March 11.

Sharmila’s padyatra is to expose the ‘failure’ of the TRS to fulfil its promises and deliver ‘Bangaru (golden) Telangana’. She is promising to bring back the welfare rule of her father and former chief minister of undivided Andhra Pradesh Y. S. Rajasekhara Reddy, and walks 12-15 km every day to meet farmers, women and other people.

Sharmila, who floated the party on July 8 last year, plans to walk 4,000 km covering 16 of the 17 Lok Sabha constituencies and all Assembly constituencies except those coming under the limits of the Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation (GHMC).

Congress Legislature Party (CLP) leader Mallu Bhatti Vikramarka is also undertaking a padyatra, ‘People’s March’ in Madhira Assembly constituency represented by him.

Bahujan Samaj Party state coordinator and former IPS officer R. S. Praveen Kumar is also on a ‘Bahujan Rajyadhikara Yatra’. He launched a 300-day-long yatra on March 6.

The 21st formation day celebrations of TRS on April 27 will add to the political heat in the state. The party will hold a day-long plenary in Hyderabad to mark the day.

TRS president and Chief Minister Chandrasekhar Rao will kick-off the party foundation day celebrations by hoisting the party flag. Later, he will deliver a welcome address and introduce 11 resolutions. The meeting will debate these resolutions and adopt them.

The plenary to be attended by about 3,000 delegates is likely to set the agenda for the party to retain power in the state.

It is after a gap of two years that the TRS will be holding foundation celebrations on a grand scale. For the last two years, the celebrations were low-key due to the pandemic.

KCR, who floated the TRS on April 27, 2001 to revive the movement for a separate state, is likely to not only highlight the tremendous all-round progress the state has made under TRS rule during the last seven years but may also launch a spirited attack on the BJP to counter its determined bid to project itself as a viable alternative.

The TRS chief is likely to come down heavily on the Narendra Modi government at the Centre for ‘discrimination’ against Telangana. The refusal of the Centre to procure paddy from Telangana has already provided fresh ammunition to the TRS to step up its attack on the BJP.

KCR, who is also aiming for a larger national role at the Centre, is also likely to reveal his plans to bring together non-BJP parties at the national level to provide an alternative to the BJP.

The first week of May will further intensify the political activities with the two-day visit of Rahul Gandhi. He will address a public meeting at Warangal on May 6 and the next day he will hold a meeting with the party leaders in Hyderabad.

This will be Rahul Gandhi’s first visit to Telangana after the 2019 Lok Sabha elections and this comes close on the heels of his intervention to put the Congress house in order in Telangana in the wake of differences among leaders coming to the fore.

The second week of May is likely to see the activities gathering further momentum with Union Home Minister Amit Shah addressing a public meeting on May 14 to mark the end of the second leg of the state BJP president’s padyatra.

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