The Telangana Rashtra Samithi is set to form its second successive government in the state as the people have returned it to power with a thumping majority, a ringing endorsement of party chief K Chandrasekhar Rao’s populist policies.

It was evident as soon as counting started that the TRS juggernaut would not falter till it had captured the Assembly. The party has managed a little less than 90 seats so far in the 119-seat Assembly.

The People’s Front – a combine of the Congress, the TDP, the TJS and CPI – is likely to get around 20. The BJP will settle for 2, while the AIMIM is leading in 5 Assembly seats.

Analysts feel the Congress would have fared better if it had gone alone and not with Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Nara Chandrababu Naidu.

Rao had dissolved the Assembly in September, eight months ahead of schedule, in a political gamble that paid off handsomely, as the party is expected to improve on its previous strength of 63 in the 119-seat Assembly.

However, TRS strength had risen to 82 after defections from TDP and Congress before the elections. “The people reposed faith in the leadership of our chief minister and they did not believe in the disinformation campaign of the opposition,” said T Harish Rao, a minister in the outgoing government and a nephew of Rao.

T Harish Rao has won by the highest margin this election, of 1.2 lakh votes. He has created a record by winning 6 times, scoring a double hat-trick .

In a major setback, however, for the TRS, three of its ministers T Thummala Nageswara Rao, Chandulal and Jupally Krishna Rao have lost to the Opposition.

Asaduddin Owaisi of the AIMIM — which KCR calls a “friendly party” — was the first winner to be declared from the Chandrayangutta Assembly constituency. The AIMIM looks set to bag five seats.

TDP candidates have not done well, losing even in areas where migrant the population was high.

Celebrations erupted in TRS offices throughout the state as well as in the Telangana Bhavan, the party headquarters in Hyderabad. TRS activists danced to drum beats, burst firecrackers and distributed sweets.