New Delhi: In the 2014 Telangana Assembly election, the Congress managed to get only 13 out of 119 seats while K Chandrashekar Rao’s Telangana Rashtriya Samity (TRS) swept to power with a whopping 90 seats. But with allegations of corruption and nepotism rising against KCR, the Congress hoped to fare much better.

But as KCR dissolved the Assembly on September 6 and on Saturday the Election Commission announced polls to be held on December 7, much ahead of schedule, the Congress smells trouble.

The Congress’s PC Chako told MyNation, “We are never afraid of any election. We are always ready.” But he didn’t hide his displeasure about preponing of the election: “It is strange that TRS dissolved the Assembly so abruptly. The government has the power to do so but does so only under unusual circumstances.”

It’s KCR vs others

Had the polls taken place with the Lok Sabha elections in 2019, the war between Narendra Modi and Rahul Gandhi would have overshadowed local battles and KCR would have lost some sheen. 

But now it will be a clear fight between KCR, who is still seen to be the reason Telangana got its statehood separating from Andhra Pradesh, and others. The Congress can’t match the son of the soil in stature with its weak local leadership and para-dropped Delhi politicians who are seen as outsiders. 

Most importantly, the Congress’s money and resources will be stretched thin across four other polling states — Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Rajasthan and Mizoram — while the TRS can focus just on Telangana.

Happy farmers, good monsoon

KCR didn’t wake up one day and dissolve the Assembly. He went through carefully crafted measures to undo some of his unpopularity. One of the biggest such measure has been his farmer welfare scheme. KCR not only announced but implemented the Rythu Bandhu Scheme. Even his critics admit that.

Under this scheme, Rs 8,000 is given to as many as 58 lakh farmers in two instalments. The scale of the scheme has penetrated a massive rural base. The amount may seem little, but is being well-appreciated by farmers and this has created a pro-farmer image of KCR. 

Also, this time the state has seen a great monsoon and a bumper crop. All in all, there’s zero farmer resentment that the Congress can use against KCR. It would have been a different case if the election had taken place next summer, when farmers’ woes rise.

Timing of women’s scheme

Last year, the chief minister declared ‘KCR Kits’, a simple scheme under which pregnant women would be given financial assistance of Rs 12,000. It turned out to be a huge success. 

Mid-2017, when KCR announced the scheme, many questioned its feasibility. By mid-2018, it started yielding results with safe deliveries of babies taking place in government hospitals.

Blame the ‘combo’ dates

The Congress has many dilemmas to deal with now. Whether to focus on MP, a state which it desperately wants, or retain Mizoram, which goes to polls simultaneously. Mizoram is the Congress’s last bastion in the Northeast.

Or, for instance, whether to throw its might in Rajasthan where it senses opportunity, and be wiped out in Telangana. Both go to polls on December 7.

For a party left in just four states and resources shrinking, the timing of the elections could not have been worse.