Unlike the 2014 elections to a newly-formed Telangana state, this time, ruling Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) romped home on a positive campaign amid claims of nepotism and corruption by the opposition grouped under Praja Kootami or People's Front.
For Telangana Chief Minister K. Chandrasekhara Rao (KCR), it was not an entirely unprecedented risk to rush for a fresh mandate in the face of criticism but few governments returned home with a thumping majority. Latest example in history was Aam Aadmi Party's startling win over BJP in Delhi elections in 2014.
KCR, who won the elections last time riding high on his ability to get a new Telangana state, was able to throw a challenge to people this time on his development agenda, seeking a clear mandate again. Despite constant complaints on his government's performance, the TRS party has put forward a strong and united front and his team was able to explain people why they were a better choice for Telangana's development.
KCR, known for his father figure stature in Telangana, never believed in pleasing-all and praising-all politics. Sweet-talk comes strange to this leader who admonishes his critics calling them drunkards, a known phrase in Telangana. Often, his tone in a common-man's Telugu with a typical Telangana accent helped him connect easily with the people at the gross-roots level.
In fact, credit goes to KCR's son Taraka Rama Rao (KTR), who was able to read the pulse of the people and refrained from negativity in his speeches and focused only on his government's positive accomplishments. He kept the cool throughout the campaign reflecting his mature political understanding that comes with his US-returned tag.
Even the ground reality resonated postively this time for KCR.
The huge Kaleswaram Project to provide water throughout the state of Telangana was nearly 70 percent completed at an unprecedented pace under T. Harish Rao, KCR's son-in-law who remained a gross-roots worker throughout the last two decades. Unlike other political leaders, KCR's family never belied the expectations of people despite criticis terming it nepotism.
Speaking to International Business Times, India edition, Sitaram Kotike, an eminent High Court lawyer in Hyderabad, summed up the poll outcome as a positive vote for TRS.
"Had the Congress refrained from joining hands with TDP, it would have won sizeable number of seats. The poll outcome shows that Chandrababu Naidu is still resented as a leader who stood against the Telangana state. But TRS remained focused at the grass-roots level, whether it was the Kaleswaram water project, electricity for all or any farmers' problems," he said.
Ultimately, KCR's "relative honesty" in politics paid him off in the elections despite opposition mounting criticism for his alleged undemocratic attitude. He was described as a rude leader but with a tone of honesty that is not seen among other political peers. His straight-forward talk is all that has impressed his admirers, including actor Prakash Raj, who has openly supported his return for the sake of Telangana's development. This is precisely what many voters in Telangana too wanted and so is the poll outcome.
Coming to Praja Kootami, ironic but never did any such front with the prefix 'Praja' made it to win elections in the history of Telugu-speaking states. In 2009 too, Praja Rajyam of Chiranjeevi faced similar fate. More than coalitions, single and strong regional or national parties fared well in the elections.