Lok Sabha polls a mounting task for BRS after Assembly loss

Hyderabad: The upcoming Lok Sabha elections this year is going to be a tough game for the Bharat Rashtra Samithi (BRS) after its loss in the Assembly polls to the Congress last year. Given its current position as the main opposition, the K Chandrashekar Rao (KCR)-led party is hoping to win at least five Parliament seats, given that it will be once again locked in a three-way fight with the Congress and Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).

Still licking its wounds from the Assembly debacle, BRS supremo KCR has begun holding internal party meetings to asses their current situation. Moreover, defections from the BRS to the ruling Congress are also expected in the run-up to the Lok Sabha elections, which are slated to be held between April and May. In the 2019 polls, the BRS won just nine out of 17 Parliament seats, while the BJP and Congress won four and three seats each. All Indian Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (AIMIM) president Asaduddin Owaisi retained the Hyderabad seat.

“If we can win even five or six Lok Sabha seats that will be a big thing since we are not in power. And there are certainly some MLAs who will leave, but not right now as they are also waiting for the right time,” said a BRS leader who did not want to be quoted. Another party functionary stated that ex-ministers from the previous government like Talasani Srinivas Yadav are important in Hyderabad since they can mobilise people. “So the Congress will definitely take them in,” he added.

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However, this time the going will be tough for the BRS. Not only is it out of power, it will be taking on a Congress which will put all its might in winning more than its 2019 Lok Sabha total of 52 out of 543 seats. Similarly, the BJP is also looking to expand its footprint in the south and Telangana is fertile ground, given that its leaders are using an aggressive Hindutva agenda to win more votes by polarisation.

“It will be interesting to watch how the regional party here managed to fight with two national parties that it kept at bay earlier. It might still have money, but given that they were voted out, it is unlikely that they can get more than 4 to five seats. In Hyderabad, which has three MP seats, one will go to the AIMIM, and another – Secunderabad – may be retained by the BJP. Similarly in districts like Karimnagar and Medak, where the BRS is traditionally strong, they may do well. With the Telangana sentiment gone, it will be interesting to watch their campaign,” stated an analyst who did not want to be named.

In the 2023 November Assembly polls, the Congress won 64 out of 119 seats, while the BRS came second with 39. The BJP and AIMIM secured eight and seven seats, while the Communist Party of India also managed to win one seat with Congress’ support. Out of the 17 Lok Sabha seats, three – Hyderabad, Secunderabad and Malkajgiri – are in the Greater Hyderabad area, while the rest are distributed amongst the state’s 33 districts.