Hyderabad, May 20 (). The chances of the Congress repeating 2004 in the 2024 Lok Sabha elections in Telangana and Andhra Pradesh are slim. This can be gauged from the current state of the party and the political dynamics in the two Telugu states.
The bifurcation of Andhra Pradesh in 2014 to create Telangana state and the resulting public anger wiped out the Congress in the residual state of Andhra Pradesh, while in Telangana the party failed to politically capitalize on the credit for creating Telangana state.
The desertion of the party by several prominent leaders after the split, lack of any charismatic face, continuous infighting in the party, series of electoral defeats have weakened the party significantly in its former strongholds.
After securing one seat in both the Assembly and the Lok Sabha in two consecutive elections (2014 and 2019), the Congress has already given political space to the ruling YSR Congress Party (YSRCP) in Andhra Pradesh.
In Telangana, defections, electoral defeats and infighting have pushed the Congress into a quandary and it will be an uphill task for the party to recover the lost prestige to win another term with the Bharat Rashtra Samithi (BRS). Is.
Undivided Andhra Pradesh was an important bastion of the Congress party and its performance in the state in 2004 and 2009 propelled the Congress-led UPA to power twice at the Centre.
In 2004, the Congress party returned to power in Andhra Pradesh with an overwhelming majority, not only ending the decade-long rule of the Telugu Desam Party (TDP), but also winning 30 of the 42 Lok Sabha seats. made a significant contribution to.
This performance was mainly attributed to the charismatic leadership of Y S Rajasekhara Reddy or YSR as he was popularly known.
With a pro-poor image and pioneering schemes for the welfare of farmers and weaker sections of society, he strengthened the party’s position in 2009 and rode to power on popularity, despite popular Telugu actor Chiranjeevi entering politics with the Praja Rajyam Party. Retained.
In the simultaneous Lok Sabha elections, the Congress won 34 out of 42 seats, once again playing a key role in the formation of the UPA government at the Centre.
However, with YSR’s death in a helicopter crash a few months later, the political landscape changed dramatically and led to the downfall of the party.
YSR’s son Y.S. Jagan Mohan Reddy put the Congress party in trouble. Later Jagan formed his own party YSR Congress to cut into Congress votes.
YSR’s death Provided an opportunity to the Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) led by Chandrasekhar Rao to launch a mass movement for statehood for Telangana.
KCR’s indefinite fast forced the UPA government to announce on 9 December 2009 that the process of formation of Telangana state would be initiated. This triggered massive protests in Seemandhra (Rayalaseema and Andhra region). The UPA government backtracked on the announcement and the protests and counter-protests plunged the entire state into chaos and uncertainty for four years.
A few months before the 2014 elections, the UPA government decided to grant statehood to Telangana. It faced open rebellion from Congress leaders in Seemandhra, including the then Chief Minister Kiran Kumar Reddy. Many powerful leaders in Seemandhra left the Congress party when a bill was passed in Parliament to bifurcate Andhra Pradesh.
In simultaneous assembly and Lok Sabha elections held a few days before the formal bifurcation, the Congress was wiped out in Seemandhra due to public anger. The party could not win a single assembly (out of 175 seats) or Lok Sabha seat (out of a total of 25) and there was no improvement in 2019.
The Congress, which was hoping to make political gains in Telangana by claiming the credit for the creation of a separate state, was dealt a severe blow. In the 119-member assembly, the party could win 21 seats, while the TRS formed the first government in the new state. Congress can win two of the 17 Lok Sabha seats. Defection of Congress MLAs to join TRS and resignation of several leaders further weakened the party.
The decline continued in 2018 as well. Despite an alliance with the TDP, the Left and other smaller parties, the Congress could win only 19 assembly seats, while the TRS increased its tally from 63 to 88. The MLA joined TRS a few months later. In the 2019 Lok Sabha elections, the Congress managed to win three seats.
The performance of the Congress in the 2024 Lok Sabha elections in Telangana may depend on the results of the assembly elections to be held in November-December this year.
Political analysts say that despite the euphoria of the Congress party’s victory in Karnataka, the grand old party faces an uphill task in Telangana. Projecting itself as the true champion of Telangana interests, the BRS (earlier TRS) is in a strong position.
The emergence of the BJP as the main rival of the BRS has pushed the Congress party to third place. Political analyst Palavai Raghavendra Reddy said, BJP has been successful in creating a BRS vs BJP narrative.
A series of defections, defeat in all the bypolls, a disastrous performance in the Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation (GHMC) elections, and constant infighting have weakened the Congress party.
The appointment of Revanth Reddy as the new state president in 2021 by the central leadership, ignoring several seniors and stronger contenders, triggered an open rebellion by a section of leaders who saw Revanth as an outsider as he Congress had joined hands with TDP just before the 2018 elections.
The change of power also could not bring any change in the fortunes of the party. Many seniors started openly attacking Revanth Reddy for sidelining him.
The steady decline raised fresh questions on Revanth Reddy’s leadership. He termed it as a fight between the real leaders of the Congress and the migrants from other parties.
Alleged by seniors that AICC in-charge Manickam Tagore was favoring Revanth Reddy, the central leadership was forced to intervene and replace him with Manikrao Thakre.