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KCR strikes gold with early poll gamble

KCR strikes gold with early poll gamble
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Hyderabad: K Chandrashekar Rao's move to dissolve the Telangana assembly appears to have paid rich dividends as his Telangana Rashtra Samithi established a considerable lead over the Congress-Chandrababu Naidu alliance in the Telangana assembly elections today. The party is leading in 89 of the state's 119 seats, the alliance in 22. The BJP is ahead in two seats.

For the Congress and Naidu, a setback in the state will have ramifications for their efforts to forge a united opposition. Naidu has taken on the task of forging a united front for which, a huge 21-party meeting was held in Delhi on Monday.

Exit polls had predicted a win for KCR, as Rao is popularly known. But the victory margin was smaller.

The counting was preceded by hectic political parleying in the state. On Monday, despite the exit poll predictions, the Congress and Naidu's Telugu Desam Party had met Governor EL Narasimhan and requested that in case of a split verdict, they are given the first chance to form a government.

The state BJP, which had bitterly criticised KCR and his party during the election campaign, hinted that they were open to backing the TRS if it distances itself from the AIMIM. But it was shot down by the party. State BJP leader K Laxman, who made the unauthorised offer, was severely reprimanded by his party.

TRS chief K Chandrasekhar Rao dedicated the emphatic victory of his party to the people of the state and said the election results would enable it to play a crucial role in national politics.

"We dedicate this victory to the people of Telangana. This is a positive vote for us," said Rao, who is set to return as CM for a second term.

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