KCR’s hat-trick in jeopardy as Telangana votes; BJP and Congress team up in some key points.

The voting process for Telangana’s 119 seats commenced this morning. The ruling BRS is encountering challenges from the Congress and the BJP, with an underlying anti-incumbency sentiment. Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao is relying on social welfare schemes to secure a third consecutive term.

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Among the early voters were notable figures, such as former cricketer Mohd Azharuddin, the Congress candidate from Jubilee Hills. Union Minister G Kishan Reddy, the BJP’s state chief, and BRS lawmaker K Kavitha, involved in the Delhi liquor case, also cast their votes. Telangana Minister KT Rama Rao participated, and the voter turnout was reported at 20.6% by 11 am.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi urged a “record voter turnout” and called on the people in Telangana to strengthen the “festival of democracy.” Chief Minister KCR, the architect of Telangana, contested from Kamareddy against the Congress’ Revanth Reddy and Gajwel against the BJP’s Etala Rajender.

The Congress, buoyed by victory in neighboring Karnataka, is led by Revanth Reddy and aims to narrow the gap with the BRS. The party leverages the BJP’s corruption allegations against KCR and claims a secret deal between its rivals. K Kavitha’s questioning in the Delhi liquor policy case becomes a point of contention for the Congress.

The BJP, now without a government in the south, seeks a strong performance to boost morale. However, internal issues, including the change in state leadership and alliance concerns with Pawan Kalyan’s Jana Sena, pose challenges.

Telangana is the final state in the series, following Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Rajasthan, and Mizoram, in this election round seen as a semi-final before the 2024 Lok Sabha polls. Vote counting for all five states is scheduled for Sunday.

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