Hyderabad: From federal front plans to daughter Kavitha’s Lok Sabha entry to a clean sweep, Thursday’s election results shattered all three dreams of TRS chief and Telangana CM Chandrashekar Rao.
Making inroads in the state, the BJP wrested three seats from the TRS and retained one seat while the Congress also wrested two seats from the ruling party and retained one. The TRS could win only nine out of 17 seats while its ally All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (AIMIM) retained Hyderabad.
In 2014, the TRS had bagged 11 seats while three MPs from other parties had later switched loyalties to the ruling party.
The BJP improved its tally from one to four while the Congress increased its numbers from two to three.
KCR’s daughter K Kavitha suffered a shocking defeat in Nizamabad at the hands of the BJP's D Arvind. The BJP also wrested the Adilabad and Karimnagar seats from the TRS. In Karimnagar, TRS senior leader Vinod Kumar lost to the BJP's Bandi Sanjay Kumar by 89,508 votes.
The Congress wrested Bhongir from the TRS as its senior leader K. Venkat Reddy defeated sitting MP B. Narsaiah Goud.
In Chevella, the Congress party's Konda Vishweshwar Reddy lost to G. Ranjith Reddy of the TRS. Vishweshwar Reddy, a leading businessman and one of the richest MPs in the previous Lok Sabha, was elected from this constituency in 2014 on a TRS ticket but had crossed over to the Congress recently.
In Khammam, the Congress party's senior leader and former Union Minister Renuka Chowdary was defeated by Nama Nageswar Rao of the TRS.
With the ruling NDA securing a massive majority on its own, KCR’s plans to stitch a "non-Congress, non-BJP" front of regional parties is also in tatters. Anticipating a hung Parliament, the TRS was gearing itself to play a "king-maker" role along with parties not aligned with the Congress and the BJP.
Rao had met several regional leaders, including his West Bengal and Odisha counterparts Mamata Banerjee and Naveen Patnaik respectively, DMK president M K Stalin and Samajwadi Party leader Akhilesh Yadav, as part of his outreach to opposition parties.
However, he did not appear to have received unequivocal support from others, except Y S Jagan Mohan Reddy of YSRCP as his efforts to form the federal front failed to make headway and remained a non-starter, according to Rao's critics.
His decision to advance the assembly polls eight months before its expiry last year was hailed as a "master-stroke" as the TRS returned to power with a rich haul of 88 seats in the 119-member House.
It was then perceived that national issues might have overshadowed those of the state if simultaneous elections were held for the Lok Sabha and the state assembly.
In the Lok Sabha poll campaign, TRS told the electorate a win for it would enable Telangana get copious funds and development projects from the Centre. Rao's focus on national politics led to speculation he would pass over the reins of the government to his son K T Rama Rao but the latter was appointed working president of TRS soon after TRS' victory in the assembly polls.
Chandrasekhar Rao's glorious moment in his about four-decade-long political career came when the UPA government led by Dr Manmohan Singh granted separate statehood in 2014, a long cherished dream, catapulting Rao to be the mascot of Telangana pride.
Though the Congress and BJP also claim credit for passage of the Telangana bill, it was Rao's TRS that reaped the rich political harvest. It was his fiery oratory and shrewd political moves that helped Rao revive the separate statehood demand and achieve it in the end.
Prior to launching the TRS, he began his political career as a Youth Congress leader before joining the Telugu Desam Party (TDP) founded by film icon N T Rama Rao in 1983. After an unsuccessful electoral debut the same year from Siddipet, he wrested the seat in 1985 and there was no looking back for him ever since.
Rao, who was a minister in the NTR government and subsequently in the N Chandrababu Naidu ministry, has won 13 elections to the Lok Sabha and state assembly on the trot. Congress allied with TRS to dislodge the TDP in 2004 and the alliance was successful at the hustings, but Rao later pulled out his party from the combine accusing the Congress of not being serious about creating Telangana.
In the 2009 assembly elections, TRS allied with the TDP after the latter agreed to extend "unconditional support" for creation of Telangana.
But, Rao and his TRS remained a fringe player in undivided Andhra Pradesh as the Congress returned to power in 2009 under the charismatic Y S Rajasekhara Reddy.
Following Reddy's death in a helicopter crash in 2009, Congress in the state plunged into turmoil as his son Jagan Mohan Reddy revolted against party high command over the leadership issue.
Sensing an opportunity, Rao began a fast unto death for Telangana statehood which he ended 11 days later after the then Union Home Minister P Chidambaram announced on December 9, 2009 steps will be taken for formation of the state by dividing Andhra Pradesh.
However, the UPA government later dragged its feet under pressure from people of coastal Andhra Pradesh and Rayalaseema region who protested the "unilateral" announcement and felt more consultations were needed.
Resuming his battle, Rao breathed fire and brimstone with slogans like "Telangana waley jaago, Andhra waley bhago (People of Telangana arise, those of Andhra run away)". He threatened a "civil war" and "bloodbath" if Telangana was not created.
As Andhra Pradesh, geographically undivided but cleaved by strong regional sentiments, headed for the 2014 assembly elections, Rao's steadfast and aggressive pursuit of Telangana saw the TRS reaping a handsome electoral harvest.
And when the new state was born, TRS had 11 of the 17 Lok Sabha and 63 of the 119 assembly seats. Having realised his Telangana dream, he consolidated his position with nearly 20 MLAs from the TDP, Congress and other parties switching over to the TRS.
In his first tenure as Chief Minister, Rao implemented pro-farmer schemes like "Rythu Bandhu", an investment support initiative, and "Rythu Beema", a life insurance scheme for the royts, that helped him regain power in December last.