Will KCR’s efforts weaken Congress bid to form anti-BJP front?

Hyderabad: After announcing plans to form a non-Congress, non-Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) coalition last month, Telangana chief minister K. Chandrashekar Rao has met opposition leaders of four different states, most recently leaders of the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) in Tamil Nadu.

While leaders in Rao’s Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) party have maintained that his aim is to just bring regional parties together against the Congress and BJP, critics and analysts said the TRS is in fact trying to weaken the anti-BJP coalition that the Congress is trying to form nationally.

So far, Rao has met DMK chief M. Karunanidhi and his son Stalin, West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee, Chhattisgarh Janata Congress supremo Ajit Kumar Jogi and Janata Dal (Secular) leader H.D. Deve Gowda. The TRS leader in the last few weeks has been attacking the centre and the Congress, saying that the country needs a “qualitative change”.

According to senior TRS leaders who did not want to be named, Rao is gauging which regional parties will go along with him in the 2019 general elections.

“Right now the situation is in a liquid state, but the idea is to bring regional parties together. We will get a proper picture only after the results of the 2019 general elections,” said a senior party functionary, who did not want to be named.

Asked if Rao will be open to joining hands with the Congress, the TRS functionary said that may not happen, adding, “The Congress has not been able to make any significant impact (in the political scenario).”

However during the previous general elections in 2014, it was believed that Rao had almost merged the TRS with the grand old party, reportedly as part of a deal if Telangana’s statehood was achieved, but the deal went sour.

Political analyst Palwai Raghavendra Reddy, however, felt that Rao’s current endeavour is nothing but a political gimmick to portray himself as a national leader in Telangana, and to also take away attention from the newly launched Telangana Jana Samithi (TJS), the political wing of the Telangana Joint Action Committee (TJAC), which spearheaded the separate statehood agitation from 2009 till 2014.

“He is trying to send a message to people here that he’s trying to play a role in national politics. But if you see Rao’s last meeting with DMK leaders, it was held on a Sunday evening, when the TJS was formally launched. Clearly, the chief minister is worried, as the TJS is expected to take away some of the TRS’s votes,” said Reddy.livemint