In a bid for early polls, the Telangana government recommended the dissolution of the state assembly on Thursday, ending weeks of speculation.
A resolution recommending the dissolution of the House was adopted at a meeting of the state Cabinet chaired by Chief Minister K Chandrashekar Rao on Thursday afternoon.
Shortly afterwards, Rao drove to Raj Bhavan and handed over the resolution to Governor ESL Narasimhan, who accepted the Cabinet’s decision.
“The Governor, while accepting the recommendation of the Chief Minister and Council of Ministers has requested K Chandrashekar Rao and his Council of Ministers to continue in office as a caretaker government. Chandrasekhar Rao has agreed to this request,” a Raj Bhavan press communique said.
TRS chief K Chandrashekar Rao also announced candidates for 105 assembly constituencies of the total 119 in Telangana.
This brings the curtains down on the first elected Legislative Assembly in Telangana. The Council of Ministers led by Rao assumed office on June 2, 2014, the day Telangana came into existence as the 29th state of India.
Speculation was rife for quite some time that Rao may go in for an early poll as the opposition in the state was in a disarray.
The final decision on whether to hold an early election now rests with the Election Commission.
In normal circumstances, election to the Telangana assembly would coincide with the Lok Sabha polls.
Sources in the ruling party said Rao wanted to cash in on what he believes was a “positive atmosphere” in favour of his government.
The TRS government’s decision to for an early election has been sharply criticised by the Congress and some other opposition parties.
“The state was formed after so much of struggle and sacrifices. People had so many hopes of development, farm issues being addressed and empoloyment generation but all these promises have not been fulfilled,” chief spokesperson of the Telangana unit of the Congress Sravan Dasoju told PTI.
He also alleged there was a “dubious pact” between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Rao, insisting if simultaneous elections were to be held for Lok Sabha and the state assembly, it would have turned into a “Rahul Gandhi versus Modi fight” in states like Telangana and benefited the Congress.
The BJP, however, was ambiguous on the issue, with its state spokesman Krishna Sagar Rao saying voters had already made up their minds about whom to vote and will stick to it.
Keeping in mind the “electoral pattern nationally” the BJP certainly feels that it has an edge whenever polls are held.
CPI general secretary S Sudhakar Reddy said Rao’s decision to have an early election stemmed from his “fear” that he would get “more isolated” if polls are held next year.
Sources in the TRS said Rao was upbeat about his continued popularity among the electorate.
“The idea is to encash the positive mood among the people. Rao has played safe,” a TRS leader said, speaking on condition of anonymity.
The party-wise strength in the 120-member Telangana Legislative Assembly before its dissolution was TRS-82, Congress-17, AIMIM-7, BJP-5, TDP-3, Vacant-2, the CPI, CPI(M), indipendent and nominated member (one each).
The TRS had bagged 63 seats in the 2014 polls but its strength rose over time with 19 MLAs from the opposition, including 12 from the TDP, three of the YSR Congress and two of the Bahujan Samaj Party joining it.
(With inputs from PTI)