KCR’s ‘Safeguard Telangana’ Sentiment Didn’t Work as Voters Miffed with BRS over Jobs, Housing – News18

Anti-incumbency, non-delivery of promises, overplaying the Telangana sentiment, corruption charges and overconfidence define how the ruling Bharat Rashtra Samithi (BRS) lost Telangana for the first time since the inception of the state in 2014.

Since its formation, BRS, formerly known as the Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS), has fought elections while capitalising on the Telangana sentiment. However, this time, voters raised questions about the fate of the three key promises: Nidhulu, Neelu, Niyamakalu – funds, water, and jobs. The voters repeatedly raised these questions during political campaigns.

In this election, KCR made an attempt to leverage the Telangana sentiment once again. During his interactions with constituents in Kamareddy, Rao advised voters to “safeguard the self-respect of Telangana in the face of threats”. Directing his attack on Karnataka’s chief minister and deputy chief ministers’ regular visits to the state, KCR cautioned people against leaders from neighbouring states who were trying to influence them.

However, the Congress, which had strategically unveiled its Karnataka model, promising six welfare guarantees, successfully neutralised the advantage gained by the BRS, which had nothing new to offer in its manifesto.

The BRS confronted accusations of corruption, financial mismanagement, and attempting to acquire land through unlawful means by countering with the Congress’s failure of governance despite being in power for several years in the Centre. But that was not what resonated in the minds of the voters.

“KCR, KTR and Harish Rao, all of them spoke of job opportunities, development, expanding the IT sector, but when you go on the ground, you will find at least one unemployed youth in every home. So, what kind of promises are they talking about?” asked a voter from Gajwel who did not want to be named.

“Where are the one lakh jobs that they promised?” asks Sudharshan, a young voter from Warangal who returned to his native after he could not get a government job as promised by the KCR government. The youth unemployment rate in Telangana, which is 15.1% compared to the national average of 10%, stood out as a major issue during the elections.

“There is a significant effort by the K Chandrashekhar Rao-led BRS government to provide jobs and ample employment opportunities to the youth. Two lakh government jobs, 6 lakh IT jobs have been delivered, another 24 lakh jobs in the private sector like IT and manufacturing have also been given. Another 20 lakh jobs in Telangana alone in our next term is our target. We have given the assurance that there will be stable career growth for the youth in Telangana when we come back to power for the third term,” replied Dasoju Sravan Kumar, the BRS spokesperson, when asked about the unemployment, yet people were not convinced.

Congress has strategically targeted two critical issues — the Dharani App — hitting the BRS where it hurts.

The Dharani App was launched as an integrated land record management system, which revolutionised how land transactions could be done. The app turned faulty as it erroneously categorised vast acres of land as ineligible for transfer or sale, causing severe distress to thousands of farmers.

Another issue that became a pain point for the BRS was the promise of 2 BHK homes.

Ayesha, a resident of Nampally, Hyderabad asked why the promised housing was being given to those who were close to the BRS leaders. “We are waiting for our name to be picked. It’s merely a promise. My neighbour who has been voting for the BRS, they took an affidavit that they will continue to support the party and then they were allotted a 2 BHK home under the scheme. So, are they doing this under duress?” she questioned.

Another young homemaker in remote Mulugu, Radhika also questioned the eligibility for the scheme. “We neither have a house nor anything to our name. KCR said he will give us a house, but that has just remained a promise. In my village, everybody applied; I did not get it. I did not get a loan which I am entitled to as per the government’s promise. My husband remains unemployed; that’s our situation,” she said.

Telangana State Public Service Commission (TSPSC) aspirants, who have been seeking placement in vacancies despite years of waiting, have been given an assurance that the examinations would be conducted and jobs given the moment the BRS comes to power. The BRS also claimed that they would expedite the process of conducting pending recruitment exams, reform TSPSC, release the job calendar, increase Group-II posts, but the youth this time did not want to take that at face value.

In October, when the piers at Medigadda (Lakshmi) barrage, one of the three main barrages of the Kaleshwaram Lift Irrigation Scheme (KLIS) sank, the BRS was left embarrassed. The opposition spared no time to target the quality of construction and call it ‘BRS personal ATM’, as the project that was touted as the “largest lift irrigation scheme in the world” was rife with irregularities.

The BRS government’s key programmes, including Dalit Bandhu, Rythu Bandhu and Dignity Housing Scheme, are also entangled in allegations of corruption or favouritism that led to demonstrations, further underscoring public dissatisfaction with the government’s mishandling of these initiatives.