Decoding the mechanics of the Congress win in Telangana
BRS has lost almost ten percentage points in vote share between 2018 and 2023 which exactly how much Congress has gained in the state between the two elections.
With 64 MLAs in the new assembly, the Congress now enjoys a majority in the state of Telangana. The Congress’ victory in the southern state amidst its loss in the states of Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh is in a way ironic, because it was in Telangana that the Congress’ gap vis-à-vis its main competitor was the biggest in terms of vote share. How did the Congress wrest Telangana from the Bharat Rashtra Samiti (BRS)? Here are three charts which answer this question.
The Congress has gained at the cost of the BRS
A simple comparison of 2018 and 2023 vote shares shows this clearly. The BRS has lost almost ten percentage points in vote share between 2018 and 2023 which exactly how much the Congress has gained in the state between the two elections. This pattern can be seen even at the assembly constituency (AC) level by juxtaposing the change in Congress and BRS’s vote share between 2018 and 2023. Since the Congress contested the 2018 elections in alliance with the Telugu Desam Party (TDP), Telangana Jan Samiti and the Communist Party of India (CPI) the change in vote share calculations have included the vote share for these parties as well. In 2023 the Congress contested all but one of the 119 ACs in the state.
See Chart 1: AC-wise change in vote share of Congress and BRS between 2018 and 2023
The Congress’ gais at the cost of the BRS also hold at the level of ACs changing parties. 13 out of the 64 ACs that the Congress has won this time were won by it in 2018 as well. 47 out of the Congress’s 2023 victories have come in ACs which were won by the BRS in 2018 and only four of the Congress’s victories this year are in ACs which were held by other parties in 2018.
Congress’s biggest improvement is in the middle of the rural-urban extremes in the state
Did rural or urban ACs play a big role in the Congress’s victory in the state? An HT analysis of quintile-wise rural-urban ACs – most urban, urban, average, rural and most rural – shows that the Congress’s biggest gains between 2018 and 2023 have come in the average AC category while its smallest gains have come in the most rural and most urban ACs. To be sure, the Congress had a much larger seat share in the most rural ACs of the state even in 2018. This shows that the only region of the state which the Congress has not been able to breach is Telangana’s most urban centres.
See Chart 2: Rural-Urban seat share of Congress in 2018 and 2023