Telangana council of ministers headed by chief minister K Chandrasekhara Rao, commonly called simply KCR, on Thursday, September 6 approved a resolution to dissolve the Telangana state legislative assembly almost eight months ahead of its five-year term, recommending early elections.
Governor ESL Narasimhan, accepting the recommendation, asked Rao and his council of ministers to continue as care-taker government till the polls.
“In consequence of the notification issued vide G O Ms No. 46, Legislature Secretariat, dated 6th September, 2018, dissolving the Telangana State Legislative Assembly with immediate effect, the Governor of Telangana hereby authorises Chief Minister Sri Kalvakuntla Chandrasekhar Rao and his colleges in the council of ministers to continue in office as a Caretaker Government of Telangana,” chief secretary Shailendra Kumar Joshi said in a notification.
The governor is set to forward the cabinet’s resolution to the Election Commission for approval.
There were indications of such a move, with KCRhinting about it over the past few couple of months. He is believed to have consulted Prime Minister Narendra Modi on his intentions to be able to go for polls along with Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan and Chhattisgarh in December this year.
Telangana’s assembly elections were set to take place concurrently with the 2019 Lok Sabha polls.
Addressing the press at the TRS party office, KCR said the cabinet had decided to bring the election forward to end the “political fragility” in the state. He said allegations levelled by opposition parties against his government were “totally baseless”. “These allegations are hurting the state’s growth. To put them to rest, the cabinet has decided to call for elections. The people’s court will now decide,” he said.
The CM said that he had personally spoken to the chief election commissioner and said the election notification is expected in October. “There is no confusion about elections. It will be held along with the four other states, either in late in November or first week of December,” he said.
KCR released a list of 105 candidates. The remaining 14 would soon be finalised, he said. Two sitting MLAs have been dropped. “The candidates were finalised only after intensive surveys. Surveys show that TRS will get at least 50% vote share in 100 constituencies. Even if all opposition parties join hands, we will still win those seats,” he said.
The party would contest the elections alone, he said. “MIM is a friendly party for us. They offered their support voluntarily and we work together,” he said. He rejected claims that he was trying to inch closer to the BJP, stating, “We are a secular party, there is no question of joining hands with the BJP. Amit Shah had also rejected the possibility of aligning with us.” His relationship with Prime Minister Narendra Modi was limited to governance, he said, adding there were no political connotations to his meetings with him.
The CM attacked the Congress, which he said was “Telangana’s enemy number one”. He criticised the party’s role in the creation of Andhra Pradesh state in 1956 and also for its delay in bifurcating it. The TRS government had been undoing Congress’s misgovernance towards the people of Telangana, he claimed. Rubbishing claims that Congress was resurgent in the state, he questioned why the party was “afraid” of going to polls early. He also labelled Congress president Rahul Gandhi as the “biggest buffoon in the country”.
The Telangana government headed by KCR was formed on June 2, 2014 on the day of formal division of the undivided Andhra Pradesh while the elections were held in April-May period in the same year.
The KCR-led Telangana Rashtra Samithi(TRS) reckons that having state elections with Lok Sabha elections would not be favourable to it, as national issues and Modi-led BJP’s campaign would drown out its ‘development and welfare schemes’. Bringing the elections forward would allow Rao and his party to navigate both the elections appropriately.