The just-concluded MLC elections to the 2 graduate council seats in Telangana evoked much curiosity as the outcome stunned may political pandits raising a debate as to TRS, being in power, did really win the battle?
The question is now being raised in many political circles as the ruling TRS though technically bagged 2 graduate council seats (Hyderabad-RR-MBNR and Warangal-Khammam-Nalgonda constituencies) failed to muster moral support of the voters at large. This has stemmed from the fact that out of a total of 3,85,000 votes polled in one constituency, the ruling party could secure 1,10,000 votes in the first round. The remaining 2,75,000 votes went to the opposition which is nothing but an anti-incumbency vote.
Let us analyse the pros and cons of electioneering in general and candidates in particular.
The TRS being in power should win hands down especially in the Nalgonda-Khammam-Warangal constituency that covers almost 50 per cent of rural Telangana. Though, TRS candidate Palla Rajeswar Reddy won with a margin of 12,806 defeating his nearest independent rival candidate Teenmar Mallanna alias Chintapandu Naveen Kumar who after the 70th round secured 1,49,005 while Palla bagged 1,61,811 due to the elimination of Prof Kodandram Reddy and distribution of his votes equal to the above.
Though Palla Rajeswar Reddy emerged victorious technically, the point to be observed here is the growing anti-incumbency that helped a hapless common man like Teenmar Mallanna alias Chintapandu Naveen Kumar, a small-time Youtuber who had literally given a tough time to the ruling party and its leader by giving them nightmares right from the first round of counting.
He has been consistently maintaining his margin in every round till the end. Even a towering personality like Prof Kodandram Reddy couldn’t match him and finally had to be eliminated that proved costly for him. Above all, Naveen had no social, educational, political, and economic background to face upper-caste dominant personalities like Palla Rajeswar Reddy and Prof Kodandram Reddy. Palla owns a fleet of educational institutions and a private university besides is a sitting MLC, whereas Kodandram Reddy is an academician, President of a political party and former T-JAC chairman. All these credentials didn’t work in their favour as voters found righteousness in Naveen’s consistent fight against the ruling party. Hailing from a poor farmer’s family belonged to the Other Backward Class (OBC) community background from a remote village in the Yadadri district, reaching this level for Naveen Kumar is no mean achievement.
The wave Navin has created, with all his crippleness, indicates the change in people’s mood that they are willing to accept anyone as a leader irrespective of his/her stature if they raise voice against the ruling TRS party albeit unitedly. The outcome has also taught a lesson for the opposition to be united. Had Kodandram joined hands with Navin or BJP for that matter either one would have won the game.
The message to the opposition was crystal clear – “United You Win and Divided You Loose”.
A similar message was also emanated in the Hyderabad-RR-MBNR graduate constituency wherein the ruling TRS candidate and daughter of former Prime Minister PV’s daughter Vani Devi won after securing 56.2% of votes with 92 candidates in the fray. Primary being them the BJP’s Ramachandra Rao who is also a sitting MLC and belongs to her same community.
TRS’s chief KCR’s strategy to out beat BJP appears to have worked out here by fielding the candidate from the same community so that expected Brahmin votes get divided. True to the BJP’s claim that PV had a win in this election and not TRS. Undoubtedly, the image of the former PM PV Narasimha Rao literally worked in favour of Vani Devi. Now it is debatable as to how TRS could use PV’s photo who is a Congressman throughout his life.
As for another strong contender, Prof Nageswar Rao is concerned, though backed by left parties he could not give much-fight and had to be eliminated after the fifth round of counting along with others in the subsequent rounds. This fetched votes for Vani Devi resulting in her victory.
However, the adamant Congress was nowhere in the sight. As usual, the faded national party had played a spoilsport by failing to register its presence at least in this election too. Although Ramulu Naik who was fielded from Nalgonda and G Chinna Reddy from Hyderabad were well known public figures but failed to withstand the fight and were subsequently eliminated.
Pathetically, the number of invalid votes in both constituencies crossing more than 52,000 has raised many an eyebrow. As newly elected Vani Devi rightly pointed out that “Its painful to note so many invalid votes in a graduate council election”. This makes us point out fingers at the Election Commission of India (ECI) for its failure to create awareness among voters about the voting patterns.
Besides, the failure of State governments in imparting quality education in colleges and universities. Its a shame on the part of our education system that failed to produce graduates who could not at least vote in the elections. They have to be entirely blamed for the disastrous results which may pose a grave threat to democracy in the days to come.