Strategy and credibility for success
While the opposition is focussing on Mahakutami — the Grand Alliance, confidence emanates from TRS ahead of elections
Elections to the Telangana State Assembly are due earlier than expected in view of dissolution of the House. Every political party is actively engaged in drafting its own strategy. While the party in power, the Telangana Rashtra Samithi, is all set to contest on its own, without any alliance with any party, the opposition parties led by Congress are forming a united front in the name of Mahakutami - the Grand Alliance. All these parties that are diametrically different from each other, with an aim to defeat TRS, are bonding. For them, it's not people's interest that matters but their own political interest. Political analysts and number of surveys, however, predict a landslide victory for TRS notwithstanding the presence of a Grand Alliance.
Political Parties appeal the voters with typical slogans in their manifestos. In earlier national and state elections too, we heard slogans like "Garibee Hatao", Two rupees kilo rice", "free power", "democracy or dictatorship", "stable government", "Total prohibition", immaterial whether they won them the election or not. After winning the poll and forming the government, they might or might not have fulfilled the promises made in manifestos.
Convincing the voter with the credibility of slogans is very crucial and important. This presupposes a political strategy. Already for the forthcoming assembly elections, a couple of parties have announced in advance their exorbitant promises that would be part of their manifesto. Absurd promises like "Rivers Krishna and the Godavari will be dewatered and drained to construct houses for poor" are also being made by some parties. They promise to waive the agriculture loans to a tune of Rs 2 lakhs, as a one time payment and in one go, unaware of the burden of thousands of crores involved in it, which literally meant to do away with every payment either for development or for welfare and even deferring payment of salaries of employees for few months! Such promises, without considering the possibility and feasibility shall be checked and disallowed by the Election Commission. Voters, however, are examining keenly the credibility of promises and assessing the capability of parties to fulfil the promises.
Whether it is an individual or an organisation or a political party or for any non-political activity, as long as it has aims and objectives to achieve them, it requires a meticulous action plan which in scientific terms is known as Strategy. For every political party, sometimes even unmindful of good or bad, strategically moving forward is a routine business. Even a small mistake may lead to severe hardship. Perhaps, as part of such hassled political strategy in the name of a grand alliance, an unethical and unprincipled combination of political parties is in the offing in Telangana in the eve of elections. Quite ahead of the announcement of schedule, the Congress party, TDP, Jana Samithi and CPI are forming into a grand alliance against ruling TRS. These parties and their leaders are probably ignorant that in elections one plus one is not two and they are wrong to conclude that the votes they polled in earlier elections if combined will make them victorious.
Every partner of this proposed grand alliance, though explicitly, want to contest together, to outsmart the other, and in the process benefit for itself. Which party will ultimately benefit and which one will be the loser in this process is a difficult assumption. In addition, the thought process of leaders at the state level is totally different from that of the grassroots cadre and constituency level leaders wanting to be in the election fray. Earlier when all these so-called alliance partners, announced that they would contest all the seats, leaders at the constituency level, in anticipation of a certainty of getting party ticket, have already begun their campaign. Now that the decision has been changed in favour of a grand alliance, the fate of these aspirants is in ambiguity. Most of them who are denied tickets due to the alliance may turn against and become dissidents, and may even campaign against alliance candidates. This would certainly harm the prospects of the grand alliance significantly.
Aspirants of party ticket normally tend to seek a ticket from another party by defecting, if they are denied by their mother party. This is a normal practice for any party and more so in Congress. The recent developments in Congress are an example of this. Often, rates are also fixed in this party as is alleged by some senior leaders belonging to that party. Against this background, for the first time in the history of Indian elections, Chief Minister and TRS president KCR have announced party tickets to 105 persons, all but two sitting MLAs, far ahead of elections, and even before the schedule is announced. Making this announcement in a media meet is a new convention set by CM KCR. He has subtly, and also explicitly, made it abundantly clear that there is little chance for the defectors from other parties to seek a party ticket. He only wants them to remain as loyal party workers after they join.
It may perhaps be apt if a rule akin to the code of conduct is brought imposing restrictions on awarding ticket to the defectors who do so just a couple of months before the elections. Election Commission, instead of sleeping all through elections, should strive hard to strengthen the democratic systems from time to time.
As against all this in every aspect, TRS is much more ahead of all the political parties that are in the fray and marching ahead towards victory. Ever since TRS won 2014 election and assumed power, the Chief Minister KCR, by treating the election manifesto as a holy book and always keeping it by his side, conceived and implemented umpteen welfare and developmental programs, giving equal priority to both, and in the process benefiting all sections of people. Name any scheme or project or program, be it the Mission Bhagiratha, Mission Kakatiya, the irrigation projects like Kaleshwaram, Palamoor, Sitaram, the Aasara pensions, the Kalyana Lakshmi and Shaadi Mubarak, employees salary hike, round the clock power supply without cuts, sheep distribution, Rythu Bandhu, Rythu Bhima, KCR kits, Basti clinics, Kanti Velugu, and so on the credit goes to TRS government. Every bit of promise made in the manifesto has been taken care of and 72 additional schemes that were not mentioned in the manifesto were also implemented. There are 60 schemes that are implemented only in Telangana and nowhere else in the country. In a way, the manifesto is implemented at 172 per cent. All this gained the credibility among people.
TRS, in its manifesto, hence, may certainly include only such promises, that are implementable. Naturally, when compared to other parties, the credibility of TRS is on a much higher side. TRS may announce, in all probabilities, many new schemes for the welfare and development of people besides opting for standardisation, stabilisation and consolidation of the good work done already in various fronts. Almost all the schemes that are in implementation shall continue in all likelihood.
TRS President KCR thinks differently, believes that he is different from others, dreams of a bright future to the state, and undertakes activities which no one will be able to do. He is a real strategist. Hundred per cent success rides along with such leaders only. Strategy coupled with credibility will be the key to success in the poll.
(The author is Chief Public Relations Officer to CM of Telangana. The views are strictly personal)