Telangana Assembly elections are slated for April-May 2019 along with AP Assembly elections and the general elections.
Telangana Chief Minister and TRS president K. Chandrasekhar Rao (KCR) is considering early elections to the state Legislative Assembly in December, coinciding it with polls in Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh and Mizoram. He is likely to dissolve the Telangana Assembly by September first week after getting a nod from the Election Commission.
KCR shared his view with Prime Minister Narendra Modi when the two leaders met on Saturday in New Delhi. During the meeting that lasted for about 25 minutes, KCR sought PM Modi’s cooperation in dissolving the Assembly and allowing him to work as the caretaker CM till the elections are held, said a TRS MP who is currently in the national capital.
The CM also took up 13 other long pending issues with the PM. The issues include Centre’s clearance to a zonal system in state government jobs and educational seats, division of the combined High Court for Andhra and Telangana, 12% reservations to Muslims in government employment etc. But what dominated the talks was his demand for early polls.
As per schedule, Telangana Assembly elections are slated for April-May 2019 along with Andhra Pradesh Assembly elections and the general elections. However, KCR wants opposition Congress is denied enough time and scope to cash in on any possible anti-incumbency if elections are held next summer when drinking water scarcity and power shortage might undermine his prospects.
KCR left for New Delhi on Friday exclusively to meet the PM and other Union ministers—Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, Home Minister Rajnath Singh and Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad, among others. He wanted to meet some key officials of the EC, if possible.
This is KCR’s third meeting with PM Modi since 15 July. They had met a second time on 5 August. He will return to Hyderabad on Tuesday. The CM held a series of meetings with his ministers, MPs, MLAs and senior party leaders in the last one week and hinted to them about his plan to advance the elections at least by five to six months. On Friday, he held a TRS parliamentary and legislature party meeting at Telangana Bhavan in Banjara Hills and told his colleagues that he would take a final call on the early elections after returning from New Delhi.
KCR has decided to hold a massive public meeting with around 25 lakh people on the city outskirts on 2 September to launch his election campaign. The grand mobilisation of crowd is meant to demonstrate that the people of Telangana are still with him. An open area of 1,600 acres at Kongara Kalan along Hyderabad Outer Ring Road has been identified for the public meeting. All these months KCR was hoping that the Modi government would go for simultaneous polls or at least advance the Lok Sabha polls by six months. But the PM has made it clear that there was no chance of advancing the Lok Sabha polls. KCR is now firm on going to the hustings earlier than scheduled.
According to sources close to him, it will not be easy to conduct the Telangana Assembly polls by December since much will depend on the decision of the Governor and the EC. First, the Governor will have to be convinced about the state Cabinet’s decision to dissolve the Assembly and go for fresh polls and then recommend the same to the Centre.
Then the EC will step into the scene and examine the situation and also review the arrangements for holding the polls by December. Though the Centre is not directly involved in the process, its opinion on holding early elections matters at various stages:
There will be an assessment of the Governor’s report by the Union Home Ministry and, second, the EC will also consult the Law and Home Ministries in the matter.
Telangana government’s chief adviser and former Chief Secretary Rajiv Sharma had met EC member Ashok Lavasa in New Delhi last week and discussed the formalities needed to be completed if Telangana Assembly elections were to be brought forward to coincide with the elections in four states.
The EC would not have any problems in considering the state’s request for December polls if the Assembly is dissolved by mid-September.