By Mohammed Shafeeq
Hyderabad, March 10 (IANS) Fresh from its landslide victory in the December 2018 Assembly elections, a confident Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) is ahead of its rivals as the campaigning is picking up for the coming Lok Sabha polls.
Though the main contenders are yet to announce their candidates, the ruling party has had a head start with its Working President K.T. Rama Rao addressing a series of preparatory meetings in the parliamentary constituencies over the last four days.
Popularly known as KTR, he addressed meetings of party leaders and workers in seven constituencies. In every constituency, he addressed more than 15,000 workers and made a night halt in few to discuss the poll strategy with party leaders.
TRS, which won 88 seats in 119-member Assembly in the December 7 elections, seems to have an edge over the opposition Congress and Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), whose cadres were demoralised by the humiliating defeat.
Entrusted with key responsibility by his father and Chief Minister K. Chandrashekhar Rao, KTR looks determined to achieve his target of 16 out of 17 Lok Sabha seats, leaving Hyderabad for ally Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (MIM).
At every meeting, KTR is explaining what 16 seats would mean to Telangana and the TRS. Predicting that both the NDA and Congress would be in no position to form the government at the Centre, he is urging people to ensure victory of all TRS candidates so that the party can play a crucial role in the formation of the next government at the Centre.
KTR is confident that Chandrashekhar Rao, as leader of the Federal Front comprising TRS and other regional parties, would decide who would be the next Prime Minister. He is promising that the Front would bring a qualitative change in the national politics as both the Congress and BJP have failed to deliver.
Stating that Telangana has already emerged as a model for the entire country with its innovative welfare and development schemes, KTR hopes that the same could be replicated across the country.
KTR is explaining to people how the state would benefit if TRS was in a position to dictate the terms in Delhi. "The state will get the required funds and projects," he said.
BJP President Amit Shah and Congress President Rahul Gandhi have also addressed a meeting each so far.
While the BJP could win just one seat, Congress, which secured 18 seats in the Assembly elections, lost three MLAs to the ruling party during the last week.
Both the national parties, however, are hoping that the results of Lok Sabha elections will be different as the polls would be fought on national issues.
Shah on Wednesday addressed booth-level workers of his party in Nizamabad and four other constituencies. Trying to lift the sagging morale of the party cadre, he asked them to gear up for giving a tough fight in every constituency.
Highlighting the achievements of the Narendra Modi government at the Centre, especially ensuring the country's security, Shah appealed to the people to give another mandate to the NDA.
Gandhi, who addressed a public meeting in Hyderabad on Saturday, promised minimum income guarantee, women's reservation and all possible help to farmers to woo the voters. He targeted the TRS chief for what he calls his secret understanding with Modi.
In the 2014 Lok Sabha elections, the TRS had bagged 11 seats while Congress had secured two. The Telugu Desam Party (TDP), YSR Congress, BJP and MIM had won a seat each.
Later, the TDP and YSR Congress MPs and one MP from Congress defected to the TRS. On the eve of the Assembly polls, one TRS MP crossed over to the Congress.