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Mainstream, VOL 61 No 50 December 9, 2023

2023 Assembly Elections: Congress Party’s Exceptional Victory in Telangana state | Kandagatla Sravan Kumar

Saturday 9 December 2023


The Congress party has raised the bar for victory in the Telangana state assembly elections held on November 30, 2023. The slogan "change is needed" given by the Congress party has gone strong among the people. The anti-incumbency to the ten-year rule of the Bharat Rashtra Samithi (BRS) Party had an impact. The Congress won 64 of the 119 legislative assembly seats and won by four more than the magic figure of at least 60 seats needed to form the government. BRS, which contested in 119 seats, was limited to only 39 seats; the BJP won 8 seats, and the MIM party won their 7 sitting seats. The CPI party won the only seat where it contested well in the Congress alliance. The Congress party has exceptionally increased its vote share in the elections. With victory in the 2023 assembly elections, it has banked almost 40 percent of the vote share. In the 2018 assembly elections, it got 28.43%; this time it increased by 11% to 39.40%. Similarly, the BRS party fell from 46.87 percent of the vote share to 37.35% in 2018. The BJP rose to a better position by increasing its vote share to 13.90% from 6.98%. In this election, the difference between the Congress Party vote share and the BRS vote share was only 2.05%, but the Congress Party won 25 more seats.
After the Congress Party, no national or regional party has won a Chief Minister for three consecutive terms in Telugu states. If, K. Chandrashekar Rao (KCR) won the assembly elections this time for the third time and tried to be known as the "Hatrick" Chief Minister, but it failed. There are many reasons for the defeat of BRS, mainly anti-incumbency, the BRS manifesto not reaching the people, people’s opinion on the attitude and family rule of KCR, government schemes not reaching everyone, dissatisfaction with the BRS MLAs and ministers, allocation of seats to a large number of sitting MLAs are the major reasons from the BRS side, and increased enthusiasm, strong leadership of Congress, six guarantees and declarations announced by the Congress, the party’s election management efforts, and even the BJP giving a three-way contest in some constituencies are the main reasons for the BRS party’s defeat. The BRS party, which dreamed of getting a record as the party that scored a hat-trick in the South, turned out to be a dream.
Mainly due to strong anti-incumbency, which has grown in 10 years, this is also a major reason why the people want a new government in Telangana. It was also an argument that the government schemes implemented by the BRS government did not reach the entire population of the state, and only a few benefited.

Major declarations in the manifesto announced by the Congress party can also be said to be the main reason for the victory of the Congress, because the manifesto announced by the Congress and the different declarations announced by the communities also attracted a large number of voters. Similarly, the main "six guarantees" announced by the Congress party also went strong among the people. These results show that the manifestos announced by the BRS and BJP, instead of those six guarantees, have reached fewer people.

After the Congress party’s victory in Karnataka, there was a kind of enthusiasm among Congress leaders and workers in Telangana. The elections were also fought with the same zeal, and a kind of wave was created among the people with the slogan "Change is needed, Congress should come." The results show that the Congress party is doing better than the other parties in that regard.

Unlike the 2018 elections, the selection of Congress Party candidates has been conducted by leading political strategist Sunil Kanugolu from Karnataka, and the party allotted tickets to the candidates based on a survey. Allocating tickets to candidates with higher chances of winning is also an issue that has come up in Congress. On the basis of Sunil Kanugolu’s strategies, the Congress party won in Karnataka, and now it has won in Telangana as well.

Rahul Gandhi, Priyanka Gandhi Vadra, Mallikarjun Kharge, and other key leaders of the AICC held many rallies and meetings across Telangana to inspire the Congress leaders and workers. They also devoted a lot of time to coming to power in Telangana. This also contributed to the victory of the Congress Party. Similarly, the "Bharat Jodo Yatra" (Unite India March) undertaken by Rahul Gandhi in 2022 was also successful in some districts of Telangana and had an impact on this election too.

Strong leaders who had previously worked in the Congress Party returned to the party through “Operation Ghar Wapsi” (return to the home party) before the elections, and some of them won again, which contributed to the success of the Congress.

The elements of the manifesto and guarantees announced by the Congress Party seemed positive to the voters of various social groups like SC, ST, Minorities, and BC; hence, the voters belonging to these social groups declared their support for the Congress Party more. Due to the cancellation and postponement of a few competitive exams due to the paper leakage of the TSPSC competitive exams held in the previous government, this was also one of the main reasons for the defeat of the BRS Party. A large number of unemployed youth were also attracted to the job calendar announced by the Congress Party, which played a vital role in the party’s victory. Similarly, special declarations like the farmer declaration, youth declaration, SC, ST declaration, BC declaration, and minority declarations announced by the Congress Party have influenced the people of all sections more than the manifestos of other parties and used to attract them towards them.

The small parties in Telangana, like Telangana Jana Samiti (TJS) and YSR Telangana Party (YSRTP), also supported the Congress Party, TDP party did not contest the election, and with the support of civil society organizations, major caste associations, and other groups, they supported the declarations announced by the Congress Party and contributed to the victory by getting votes from the respective communities. The Congress Party’s announcement that they will conduct a "caste census" if they come to power also attracted the BC voters; similarly, the points mentioned in the BC declaration also attracted the BCs. The unity and absence of any quarrels among the top leaders of the Congress Party before the elections are also factors in their favor. Due to the change of the president in the BJP Party, the gradual fall of the BJP graph is also a factor that has come together for the Congress.

In November 2023, in the five state elections in the country, the BJP won in three states (Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, and Chhattisgarh) and the Zoram People’s Movement (ZPM) in Mizoram, but Congress won only in Telangana state. It is a relief to them that after Karnataka, Congress again came to power in Telangana from South India. Finally, the Congress Party, which has returned to power after a decade, also has some challenges ahead of it. Because proper implementation of the "six guarantees and declarations" in the manifesto announced by the Congress Party is also a big challenge. Similarly, unlike in the past, this time the Telangana Congress Party will find it difficult to deal with the BRS and BJP parties, who are the main opposition parties. It can be said that it will be a challenge to face them because, this time, the numerical strength of the opposition is greater than in the previous government.


Sravan Kumar, K. (2023). Karnataka Verdict Drives Congress Party to Change Strategy for Forthcoming Telangana Assembly Polls, Mainstream, Vol. 61, No. 30-31, July 22 & July 29.

(Author: Kandagatla Sravan Kumar is a Ph.D. (Sociology) holder from Kakatiya University, Warangal, Telanagana State. Academic Counselor at Indira Gandhi National Open University (IGNOU), Study Centre (0105), Warangal, Telangana State. e-mail: sravankuc[at]

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