In a major embarrassment to the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), party strongman and former president of the party’s state unit, G Kishan Reddy, lost the Amberpet seat to rival Kaleru Venkatesham from the Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS). Amberpet was a bastion of the BJP, where Kishan, the floor leader of the BJP, had won three consecutive terms. However, the TRS, seemingly riding on the KCR wave prevailing in the state, has decimated its opponents and got a comfortable mandate.
Even present party president K Laxman, who contested from Musheerabad, lost to TRS rival candidate Muta Gopal. Among the five sitting BJP MLAs, only Raja Singh, who contested from Goshamahal, won the elections.
Raja won with 17,734 votes against Prem Singh Rathore of the TRS, thereby becoming a two-time MLA. Mukesh Goud who contested on a Congress ticket got 26,322 votes. However, the margin of the Raja Singh, known for his communally divisive statements, dropped significantly. In the 2014 elections, Singh won with a margin of 46,793 against Goud.
On numerous occasions, TRS president K Chandrasekhar Rao said that the BJP was an insignificant party and that they will lose the five Assembly seats they had won in the 2014 elections.
As predicted by him, the BJP is left with just one MLA in the state. It must be recalled that Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Home Minister Rajnath Singh and several other star campaigners including Yogi Adityanath had campaigned in the state. In fact, there were poll promises by the BJP to rename Hyderabad and Karimnagar. However, their campaign seemingly made no difference to the popularity of the chief minister.
In fact, ahead of the elections, Laxman had offered to support the TRS, saying, “We will speak to the high command in New Delhi and consider it. We will extend our support if it is needed. But we will never hold talks with the AIMIM or the Congress-led alliance.”
Responding to the statement, the TRS said that they were confident that they would win enough seats to retain power in the state.