Hyderabad, Oct 25: India's youngest state, Telangana, will face elections on December 7 for the second time since its birth in 2014. Chief Minister Chandrashekar Rao took a big risk by advancing the Telangana Assembly polls by eight months. He also took everyone by surprise when he announced the list of 105 candidates on the same day even before the Election Commission of India announced the polling dates.
With the polling date drawing close, election fever has gripped the state. While TRS is fighting to save its throne, opposition parties are trying to come into power.
A look at the contenders this season
What worked well for KCR in 2014 was the separate Telangana agitation. The fight for a separate state, in which he was at the forefront, helped him gain support from masses.
In that election, within the Telangana region, Telugu Rashtra Samiti (TRS), the ruling party had won 63 seats, the Congress 21, and the Telugu Desam Party 15. The Assembly has a total of 119 seats.
TRS is naturally the biggest player in the state currently. The young party, founded in 2001, with a one-point agenda of creating a separate Telangana state has since swelled in its ranks with 63 out of the 119 seats in the Assembly belonging to the party now. Several members from the rival parties have also joined the TRS recently.
Congress-led Prajakutami (Grand Alliance)
The primary contenders for this election remain to be the caretaker Chief Minister K Chandrashekar Rao-led TRS party and the 'Mahakutami' or 'Grand Alliance', which comprises of the Telangana Congress, Telugu Desam Party (TDP), Telangana Jana Samithi (TJS) and the Communist Party of India (CPI).
Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)
The BJP, which had five MLAs in the dissolved assembly, looks to substantially increase its strength in the polls. The BSP also plans to contest in the 119 seats across Telangana and are banking on the SC and ST votes that form over 24.5% of voter share in the state.
All India Majlis-e-Ittehad-ul Muslimeen (AIMIM)
Asaduddin Owaisi's AIMIM exerts considerable influence in areas in and around Hyderabad. As many as 24 constituencies come under the Greater Hyderabad region. At least seven of these seats are considered to be AIMIM bastions.
Aam Aadmi Party (AAP)
The Telangana unit of AAP also made their intentions clear to contest in all the 119 assembly seats in the upcoming state elections.
KCR dissolved the assembly on September 6, seeking early state elections. Hours after dissolution, TRS announced candidates for 105 constituencies.
The Congress-led pre-poll alliance has been in talks ever since a rift on seat-sharing. As per PTI sources in the Congress, the TDP, CPI and TJS are demanding more seats than their "fair share". The CPI has also indicated that it is mulling the option of contesting independently.
BJP, which is trying to add the state to its basket, has proposed to regulate the sale of liquor, claiming that its unrestricted availability and consumption was leading to several social and law and order problems in the state.
KCR has assured Rs. one lakh farm loan waiver, besides increasing assistance under the Rytu Bandhu scheme to Rs. 10,000 per annum from the current Rs. 8,000 if the TRS was voted to power once again.
Ahead of the elections, TRS has got a much-needed boost with an opinion poll resulting in favour of the party. According to survey reports by C- Voter, Times Now and ITTech Group and other agencies, CM K Chandrashekhar Rao and the Telangana Rashtra Samithi is all set to win the 2018 elections. Most survey reports predict a clear win for the TRS and that they would sweep the Telangana assembly elections for the second time.
Date of issue of gazette notification: November 12
Last date of nominations: November 19
Date for scrutiny of nominations: November 20
Last date for withdrawal of candidatures: November 22
Polling date: December 7
Vote counting: December 11