The Congress was on its way to achieve the magic mark of 60 seats on Sunday to form the first non-BRS government in Telangana, with the southern solace coming in the midst of a saffron sweep of the Hindi heartland where BJP wrested two states from its rival and retained one.
Telangana becomes the second southern state in Congress' kitty in 2023, after it emerged triumphant in Karnataka in May.
Having registered a virtually unassailable lead against the ruling BRS, the Mallikarjun Kharge-led party won 47 seats and was ahead in another 17, according to latest Election Commission figures.
The BRS, which has 101 members in the outgoing Assembly, emerged victorious in 22 and was leading in 17 others.
Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao submitted his resignation with the Governor following his party's poor performance.
Anumula Revanth Reddy, who led the Congress' charge, finds himself on the brink of a potential chief ministership. The 56 year-old leader met top police officials of the state and discussed the security arrangements for the swearing-in ceremony, likely on December 4 or 9.
He welcomed the people's mandate in favour of the national party while BRS expressed disappointment over its failure to ensure a hattrick.
The KCR-led Bharat Rashtra Samiti (BRS) formed the maiden government of the newly carved out Telangana in 2014 and emerged victorious in 2018 as well.
"It is a people's mandate. We need not (do) a postmortem. Everything goes well, then only you will get that magic number. The simple point is that they (people) wanted to change. They wanted to defeat KCR (CM Rao). They have defeated KCR. That's all," Reddy told reporters.
Reddy said the people have decided the role of the opposition, and Congress expects the BRS's cooperation in order to fulfil the people's aspirations.
"To revive democratic values, we are expecting that the BRS will come forward," he said.
It is the party's responsibility to fulfil Telangana people's aspirations after forming the government in the state, he added.
BRS working president and KCR's son K T Rama Rao said the assembly poll results were "disappointing" though he was not "saddened".
"Grateful to the people of Telangana for giving @BRSparty two consecutive terms of Government. Not saddened over the result today, but surely disappointed as it was not in expected lines for us. But we will take this in our stride as a learning and will bounce back," he said.
"Congratulations to Congress party on winning the mandate. Wishing you Good Luck," the BRS leader further said.
Factors such as anti-incumbency, voter fatigue, and dissatisfaction among the youth contributed mainly to the poor showing of BRS.
Despite the towering image of CM KCR, along with the party's extensive grassroots network and welfare programmes, the perceived inaccessibility of its leaders contributed to the growing anti-incumbency sentiments.
Additionally, the opposition projection of what they called the BRS family rule in the state further exacerbated this sentiment.
The Congress had mounted a spirited election campaign with a view to unseat BRS, even as the BJP also launched a no holds-barred attack against the ruling dispensation.
The BJP bettered its tally, winning 6 seats and leading in 2 other segments, according to an EC update. It has 3 members in the outgoing Assembly. AIMIM won 5 seats and was leading in 2.
The Congress' good show sparked off celebrations by party workers.
Jubilant mood prevailed at the residence of Revanth Reddy and the party's state headquarters here.
Celebrations broke out at Gandhi Bhavan, the party office, where overjoyed workers were seen setting off crackers and raising "Jai Congress" and "Revanth Anna Zindabad" slogans.
Security was also stepped up at Revanth Reddy's residence with additional police personnel being deployed.
While the BRS has 101 members in the outgoing Assembly, AIMIM has 7, Congress 5, BJP 3. The All India Forward Bloc has one legislator. There is one independent while there is one vacancy.
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