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KCR floats his ‘federal front’ again, is even willing to sail with Congress now

KCR had shelved his attempts last year but has renewed it, softening his stand on the Congress while looking to meet a host of regional leaders.

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Bengaluru: Telangana Chief Minister K. Chandrashekar Rao (KCR) has revived his project, to form a federal front of opposition parties, after shelving the idea last year.

While his arch-rival Chandrababu Naidu, who called himself a ‘facilitator’, has set the tone for a Mahaghatbandhan, Rao or KCR, as he is known, is now racing against time to rally his own opposition alliance.

This time, however, there is a difference in KCR’s approach — the Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) chief, once deemed close to the BJP, appears to suggest that his new front may not necessarily be a non-Congress one.

The Congress too appears to tacitly reciprocate. On Wednesday, senior Congress leader M. Veerappa Moily said that KCR’s efforts should be seen more as an effort to keep out the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA).

A day earlier, KCR had met the Kerala Chief Minister and CPM Politburo member, Pinarayi Vijayan, in Thiruvananthapuram. He is now set to revive his meetings with Trinamool Congress chief and West Bengal Chief Minister, Mamata Banerjee, the DMK’s M.K. Stalin and even the BSP ’s Mayawati and SP’s Akhilesh Yadav.

But the most significant aspect of his outreach is that he now seems open to the idea of seeking the cooperation of the Congress.

The change of stance, with respect to the Congress, is not without significance. Political analysts say that Mamata Banerjee and Stalin may have prompted KCR to ease off on the Congress.

The duo has stated that there cannot be a non-BJP government without the participation of the Congress. It appears that the JD(S) leader and Karnataka Chief Minister H.D. Kumaraswamy, whose party is in a coalition with the Congress in Karnataka, has also indicated this.

“Post May 23, anybody can become relevant. In that scenario, KCR thinks that he can project an image that he will be the one with the bargaining power,” said the Hyderabad-based political analyst Palwai Raghavendra Reddy. “He is giving himself hope but only the final results will say whether his move had any effect or whether it was a pure waste of time. KCR’s move will also have weight only if the BJP does not cross the 200-seat mark.”

Another reason for the shift in KCR’s stance, with respect to the Congress, is the recent strain between the BJP and the TRS. The relations may have soured after the Telangana police seized Rs 8 crore from BJP supporters in Hyderabad on 9 April, two days before polling began on 11 April.

Following that, 50 turmeric farmers from Nizamabad filed their nominations against Modi in Varanasi on 28 April. Sources in the BJP said the party’s national president Amit Shah expressed his displeasure to KCR. Shah, the sources said, told KCR in a telephonic conversation that the money seized is being seen as a deliberate attempt to damage the BJP’s image just before the elections.

May harbour PM ambitions

KCR may also be looking at the possibility of the Karnataka model being replicated at the national level. In Karnataka, the Congress, despite having more seats than the JD(S), decided to offer the latter the choice of leading the government.

In the same way, if all his chips fall into place, KCR may turn out to be the frontrunner for the Prime Ministerial seat, with possible Congress support.

Analysts, however, say that it is a long shot as a host of regional leaders such as Mamata Banerjee and Mayawati may have an equal claim in case of a hung verdict.

The numbers also don’t add up. Telangana has just 17 Lok Sabha constituencies and even if the TRS sweeps all of them, it still would mean a modest collection.

For now, however, KCR has been keeping his cards close to his chest. He is expected to meet the DMK president Stalin in Chennai on 13 May. Sources in Kumaraswamy’s office said they expect KCR to then visit Bengaluru to meet with the Karnataka chief minister.

Also read: KCR won a massive mandate but 47 days on, Telangana is being run by 2 ministers

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  1. well, the print gets really passionate while explaining what’s holding good against the bjp, i am not surprised though most of the foreign owned Media houses are anti Hindu.

  2. Amongst the regional chieftains, Ms Mamata Banerjee has the strongest claim. Ms Mayawati’s governance style is deeply problematic.

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