After spearheading the separate Telangana movement and leading his party to significant victories since 2014, a third term in office eluded Bharat Rasthra Samithi supremo K Chandrasekhar Rao, who lost to the Congress in the legislative assembly polls. This was BRS' first defeat since the birth of Telangana in 2014.
The Congress won 64 seats in the 119-member Telangana assembly, while the BRS got only 39.
A week, it is said, is a long time in politics and, by that yardstick, nine-and-a-half years is an aeon. That is the anti-incumbency challenge that the BRS could not overcome.
In an extensive poll campaign, the party tried to highlight all its welfare schemes for the poor. However, the implementation of some schemes had given an inordinate amount of power to MLAs to decide on the distribution of funds, leading to allegations of discrimination as well as corruption.
KCR's son and IT minister KT Rama Rao insisted that job creation and GDP growth in Telangana have been the highest in the country, but many sections complained that getting employment has been an issue.
Ahead of the elections, KTR had advised the Chief Minister to bring in fresh faces and not give tickets to nearly 30 MLAs, against whom anti-incumbency seemed to be building.
KCR did warn these MLAs to buck up and improve their performance but ended up giving poll tickets to all of them. The result: most of these seats went to the Congress.
On the other hand, 9 out of the 10 leaders who represented BRS for the first time emerged victorious.
To make a comeback, the party will also have to find a way to connect to the rural voters. Nearly half of the BRS' 39 seats came from the Hyderabad region, where KTR's pitch for development and IT parks seemed to resonate with the voters.
Congress staked claim to form the government on the night of the counting itself as experts say the party has several factions and is jittery despite winning a clear majority. The Telangana result was the only silver lining in an otherwise dismal day for the Congress, which lost in Chhattisgarh and Rajasthan and failed to dislodge the BJP from Madhya Pradesh as well.