Hyderabad, June 1: The Telengana Rashtra Samiti (TRS) has suffered a setback in the May 29 bypolls, bagging only two of the four Lok Sabha and seven of the 18 Assembly seats.
The biggest shock was the slim victory margin of TRS chief K. Chandrasekhar Rao, who retained his Karimnagar Lok Sabha seat with a lead of only 15,765 votes over Congress candidate T. Jeevan Reddy. In the last byelection, in 2006, his lead was more than two lakh votes. The other parliamentary seat the party won was Hanamkonda.
The Congress bagged the Adilabad Lok Sabha seat while the Telugu Desam romped home in Warangal. The tally was six Assembly seats for the Congress and five for the Desam.
Rao, a former Union minister, offered to quit as TRS chief, owning moral responsibility for the debacle but did not go ahead after some workers tried to burn themselves in front of the party office here to stall his move.
The TRS had joined the Congress-led coalition governments in the state and at the Centre but pulled out to protest the delay in carving out a separate Telangana state. The Congress and the Desam had campaigned against statehood and for an integrated Andhra.
Some saw the outcome not as a vote against Telengana but against the TRS and Rao. The TRS has driven people to elections twice after 2004 and not proved anything. People have realised the party cannot deliver Telengana, said political observer C.L. Narasimha Rao.
I. Venkat Rao, former editor of Andhra Jyoti, echoed him. People have reposed faith in the Congress and the Desams abilities to develop the backward Telengana region.
Chief minister Y.S.R. Reddy dubbed the results a vote for Sonia Gandhis loan waiver and rural job schemes, saying the Congress could have done better if its workers, struggling after the end of the alliance with the TRS, were better organised.
However, he said the voters had taught the TRS a lesson for its arrogant and deceptive ways.