Hyderabad: Telangana Chief Minister K. Chandrashekar Rao, or KCR as he is popularly known, Wednesday made a fresh pitch for an anti-BJP coalition of regional opposition parties, while accusing the Narendra Modi government of implementing “anti-people, anti-farmer and anti-worker” policies.
The chief minister has promised to host a “national conclave” of the country’s main opposition leaders in the second week of December in Hyderabad. He also said his Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) will launch a countrywide agitation against the Modi government.
KCR was addressing a joint meeting of the TRS Legislature Party, TRS Parliamentary Party, and its Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation (GHMC) division in-charges Wednesday.
“The main opposition party, Congress, which is supposed to fight against the BJP, has fallen flat and has no clue on how to oppose the BJP,” the chief minister said. “Both the Congress and the BJP have failed to show any direction to the country and they are like the Bade Bhai (big brother) following the Chhota Bhai (younger brother). Hence, the TRS is taking the onus and showing the required and needed initiative.”
KCR said he had already spoken to West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik and DMK chief M.K. Stalin. He added that he also spoke to former chief ministers of UP, Maharashtra, Punjab, Karnataka — Akhilesh Yadav, Sharad Pawar, Prakash Singh Badal and H.D. Kumaraswamy, respectively — besides CPI and CPM leaders.
The chief minister also hit out at the BJP-led NDA government’s governance, accusing it of willfully withdrawing investments in major public sector undertakings to “ensure they go into the hands of the private corporate companies”.
He also said the NDA government has not implemented a single programme or policy for the welfare of people at large, farmers, Dalits, tribals and other weaker sections of society.
“At the time of elections, they (BJP) evoke the sentiments of the people by referring to Pakistan, Pulwama, Kashmir only take political mileage,” KCR said. “They unleash propaganda that they have done something at the borders. At the same time, they have no guts to fight against China.”
Not the first time
This is not the first time that the chief minister has spoken about getting all opposition parties under one roof.
He floated the idea of a federal front, meant to be a non-BJP, non-Congress alternative, back in March 2018 and planned to float such a force by April of that year. Rao had then claimed that Mamata Banerjee, AIMIM chief Asaduddin Owaisi and current Jharkhand Chief Minister Hemant Soren had extended support.
Three months later, KCR hinted at early Assembly polls in the state. Telangana saw early polls in December. Around that time, KCR met DMK’s Stalin.
After the TRS’ landslide victory, he met Akhilesh, Mamata Banerjee and Naveen Patnaik, to forge an alliance.
Efforts intensified in the run-up to the general elections of 2019 and even after polling. Before the results were announced, KCR met Kerala CM Pinarayi Vijayan and also sent a delegation to YSRCP chief and current Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Y.S. Jaganmohan Reddy to stitch up an alliance depending on the Lok Sabha poll results.
However, despite multiple phone calls with counterparts such as Banerjee and most of the opposition party leaders extending support, as claimed by the chief minister, the ‘federal front’ did not materialise.
New call amid BJP surge in Telangana
KCR’s latest call for an opposition coalition comes amid a BJP surge in Telangana. The BJP is riding high on its victory in the bypoll at Dubbaka, a supposed TRS bastion.
Buoyed by its win, the BJP now has grander plans to gain a foothold in the state, beginning with the Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation (GHMC) polls to be held on 1 December.
The party late Sunday night appointed national general secretary Bhupendra Yadav as its election in-charge for the GHMC elections.
Along with Yadav, BJP national president J.P. Nadda also appointed Karnataka Health Minister K. Sudhakar, Maharashtra MLA Ashish Shelar and the Gujarat secretary Pradipsinh Vaghela as co-in-charges for the elections.