As Telangana gears up for its third assembly election since its formation in 2014, the state is witnessing a growing north-south divide, posing a challenge to the ruling Bharat Rashtra Samithi (BRS) led by K Chandrashekar Rao. The geographical and developmental disparities between North and South Telangana have become a focal point in the struggle for power, with the Congress party, historically strong in the south, posing a formidable challenge to the BRS. The fate of the state, and the resolution of this divide, hangs in the balance as the election approaches.
The north-south divide has significantly impacted the Telangana Assembly Election 2023, influencing the political landscape and electoral dynamics. The geographical and developmental disparities between North and South Telangana have emerged as a crucial factor in the struggle for power, with the ruling Bharat Rashtra Samithi (BRS) facing challenges due to this divide.
Geographical disparities: Examining the north-south divide in Telangana
North Telangana, from where most of the BRS leaders hail, has historically enjoyed better irrigation facilities and development, leading to a perceived neglect of South Telangana. The north has maintained its political dominance over the south, leading to a sense of discrimination in the southern region under the BRS rule. This has been further exacerbated by the proclivity of the BRS to patronize the rival Congress party in elections, with the south traditionally being a bastion of the Congress.
The Congress, historically strong in the south, has been gaining ground against the BRS in North Telangana, with several assembly seats once considered strongholds now emerging as swing seats. The fate of the two primary contenders hinges on the crucial Hyderabad region and pivotal swing seats, where the electoral fortunes of the BRS and Congress will be decided.
BRS leadership under pressure
Even as Telangana is set to face the third assembly election since its formation in 2014, the growing south-north divide in the state stares at K Chandrashekar Rao’s 10-year rule. Ironically, it was long years of feeling of utter neglect that fuelled the Telangana statehood movement, of which KCR was the biggest proponent. Hyderabad as the state capital with 14 assembly segments is located at the centre of Telangana.
A region situated in the north of Hyderabad is called North Telangana while the area in the south is South Telangana. A North-South Divide Geographically, North Telangana falls in the Godavari river basin at one extreme end while South Telangana in the Krishna river basin is diametrically on the opposite side. The fate of a particular region in terms of development depends on the bounty of the river on which it is located. That way, North…
Incidentally, north Telangana played a pivotal role in the statehood movement with its son of the soil KCR at the helm. The north has maintained its political dominance over the south after formation of the state, taking away a major slice of development at the expense, some argue, of the traditionally deprived south… The purported discrimination being meted out to south Telangana under the BRS rule could be ascribed to its proclivity to patronise the rival Congress party in elections.
Strikingly, KCR, A Revanth Reddy of the Congress hails from south Telangana. KCR’s party, though touted as the achiever of statehood, ended up with 63 seats in the 119-member assembly, just three seats more than the simple majority, in 2014. That was due to the people of south… Telangana rejecting his party, as the region has been a traditional bastion of the Congress.
12 MLAs of TDP merged with TRS in March 2016 providing a fillip to KCR. In 2018, when KCR moved forward the poll by six… Surveys predict a close contest with hung assembly situation not being ruled out. The southern state is witnessing a tough contest between the ruling Bharat Rashtra Samithi and Congress, with the grand old party threatening to dislodge the decade-long K Chandrashekar Rao government, riding on its poll guarantees and victory in neighbouring Karnataka.
The BRS has long benefitted from being credited for the creation of Telangana. Coupled with the personal political capital and charisma of KCR, popular schemes targeted at specific voting blocks, higher economic growth, poaching of Opposition leaders, and the decline of the influence of Andhra parties, the BRS has solidified its support in the state in the last ten years.
Congress is strong in only one of five regions. Telangana can be divided into five regions: East (28), Greater Hyderabad (21), North (28), South (21), and West (21). Each region has unique characteristics. While Greater Hyderabad has a high urban and minority population, the South traditionally faced acute power and irrigation water shortages, and parts of the North and East are affected by Naxalism… The Congress was in the third or fourth position in half of the Greater Hyderabad seats.
In 2018, Congress won just one seat but was runner-up in 11 others in the region. The party’s misfortune is that AIMIM contests only in this region and BJP is relatively strong in this region. So, their maximum impact which is damaging for Congress is in this zone… This effectively puts Congress out of contention in this region’s 21 seats, requiring it to win a simple majority of 60 out of roughly 100 seats.
As the countdown to the 2023 Telangana Assembly elections enters its final week, the political landscape in Northern Telangana is witnessing a fierce battle between the Congress and the Bharat Rashtra Samithi (BRS). The Bharatiya Janata Party’s (BJP) claimed silent wave appears to be dissipating, and the Congress is rapidly gaining ground in BRS pockets. Several assembly seats once considered strongholds are now emerging as swing seats, with local issues set to play a crucial role in shaping the preferences of the electorate.
The fate of the two primary contenders hinges on the crucial Hyderabad region, and the pivotal swing seats where the electoral fortunes of the BRS and Congress will be decided. Recognising the significance of these seats, both parties are attuned to the sway of undecided… The electoral dynamics are particularly intriguing in the 10 districts comprising Northern Telangana, namely Adilabad, Komaram Bheem Asifabad, Nirmal, Jagtial, Mancherial, Nizamabad, Peddapalli, Karimnagar, Rajanna Siricilla and Kamareddy.
With 32 constituencies up for grabs, this region plays a pivotal role in determining the overall outcome of the election… “No one said we will give power for only three hours. We will give free power 24×7. KCR (as the chief minister is known) is just spreading lies,” retorted Congress stalwart Revanth Reddy. In the assembly segments of Adilabad, Nizamabad and Karimnagar, the outcomes of the 2018 assembly polls and the 2019 parliamentary election revealed divergent trends.
Future of Telangana
All eyes are on Telangana as the state is set to go to polls tomorrow. The state is seeing a three-way contest between Congress, BJP, and the currently-ruling BRS. The aggressive campaigning of these three parties saw Congress and BJP repeatedly raising issues concerning people, with the BRS leaders expressing confidence about the delivery of their programs. They have also made big promises in their manifestos.
The upcoming Telangana Assembly election is poised to be a critical juncture in the state’s political landscape, with the north-south geographical and developmental divide taking center stage. As the BRS struggles to maintain its hold amid the growing influence of the Congress party, the outcome of the election holds the key to bridging this divide and shaping the future of Telangana.
The contest between the ruling BRS and the resurgent Congress, along with the evolving dynamics of the BJP, is set to determine the course of the state’s governance and development. The election on November 30 will be a litmus test for the political forces at play, with the resolution of the north-south divide looming large as a decisive factor in shaping the state’s trajectory.
Read also: Naxal shadow fades: Telangana elections embrace peaceful transformation