What it means for Revanth Reddy if Congress loses in his home turf in the upcoming Lok Sabha polls?

For Chief Minister A Revanth Reddy, the LS election results are crucial as they are his first big test after assuming office.

ByVasu Gandikota

Published Apr 23, 2024 | 5:17 PMUpdatedApr 23, 2024 | 6:01 PM

File photo of Revanth Reddy.

Five months after the victory in the Telangana Assembly elections, it is not an easy ride for the ruling Congress in the upcoming polls to Lok Sabha, going by current indications.

The party appears comfortably placed in just about five out of the 17 seats, while the BJP is either ahead or is giving a tough fight in the other segments.

Interestingly,  the sharp decline in the vote share of Bharat Rashtra Samithi (BRS) post the debacle in Assembly polls is giving a headache to the Congress as the BJP is building on BRS’ loss, turning the contest almost bipolar in quite a few constituencies.

Based on surveys and ground reports that have emerged, Congress has the lead in Khammam, Mahbubabad, Nalgonda, Nagarkurnool and Peddapalli.

The BJP won four in 2019 and is set to retain Karimnagar and Secunderabad comfortably. The contest is evenly placed in the other two–Nizamabad and Adilabad–though saffron appears to have the edge in the former.

That leaves seven more seats – Chevella, Mahbubnagar, Medak, Malkajgiri, Zahirabad, Warangal and Bhongir. Hyderabad is the other segment where Majlis leader Asaduddin Owaisi is expected to retain his hold.

Of the seven, the BJP is said to be well placed in Chevella, Mahbubnagar, Zahirabad, and Malkajgiri. It’s a tight contest between Congress and BJP in Bhongir and Warangal. The fight is between BRS and BJP in Medak.

For Chief Minister A Revanth Reddy, who is also Congress’ Telangana unit President, the Lok Sabha election results are crucial as they are his first big test after assuming office.

Also read: KCR helping BJP, claims Revanth

Waiting to dissent

Even Congress insiders admit that anything less than ten seats for the party will be seen as negative and provide a handle to Revanth’s detractors, who are waiting for an opportunity to launch dissidence against him.

The worst that could happen to the chief minister is a loss in Mahbubnagar, his home constituency.

More than one survey so far suggests that the BJP has established a lead of over 5 percent over the Congress. Of the seven Assembly segments in Mahbubnagar, the BJP is way ahead in three and is evenly placed with the Congress in two.

The Congress has a slight edge in only two segments, including in Kodangal, represented by Revanth. Congress’ delay in naming candidates in key constituencies like Khammam and Karimnagar is an indicator of indecisiveness in the party.

Like in many other constituencies, Revanth’s problem is BRS’s decline in Mahbubnagar. BRS’s vote share is seen as having dropped almost by half to less than 20 percent. This has pushed the BJP to above 40 percent, with the Congress between 35 and 40.

“A loss here will not only dent his clout in Delhi but will also give the BJP an opportunity to attack him stridently,” a senior leader admitted.

Internal bickering costing Congress?

In Mahbubnagar, as in some other constituencies, Congress MLAs are reportedly not evincing keen interest in working for the victory of party candidates, owing to internal rivalries.

From having secured a combined lead of three lakh votes in the seven segments comprising Mahbubnagar in the December Assembly elections, the party is now staring at defeat.

The shift of voters from BRS to BJP because this is a national election and a regional party has no relevance and lack of enthusiasm among Congress leaders are being cited as the primary factors.

Of course, Revanth smells a conspiracy. At a recent public meeting, he alleged that former chief minister K Chandrashekar Rao struck a deal with the BJP to help the latter in five constituencies, including Mahbubnagar, as a quid pro quo to go soft on his daughter, Kavitha, currently in jail in the Delhi liquor case.

Contrary to initial indications, the contest in Warangal has also turned close between Congress and BJP. Congress has fielded former BRS Deputy Chief Minister Kadiyam Srihari’s daughter, Kavya after they switched sides recently.

In a bid to teach Revanth Reddy a lesson, the BRS is reportedly extending indirect support to the BJP’s nominee.

Irrespective of the merit of the accusation, from a purely political standpoint, it suits BRS to strike at Revanth by applying this principle, at least in Mahbubnagar, if not elsewhere.

And if it indeed happens, many within the Congress will be smiling behind the doors.