Hyderabad: Telangana Chief Minister K. Chandrashekar Rao (KCR) Friday embarked on a multi-state tour, a move that appears to be in line with his plans to take his party beyond the southern state.
Over the next few weeks, the Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) chief will visit Delhi, Chandigarh, Karnataka, West Bengal and Bihar and, according to a statement from his office, interact with leaders from different political parties and noted economic experts to discuss the country’s “economic predicament”.
After meeting various political leaders in the capital, the CM will visit Chandigarh, where he is scheduled to meet families of the over 600 farmers who allegedly lost their lives during the year-long protest that led to the repeal of three farm laws.
In November 2021, KCR had announced an ex gratia payment of Rs 3,00,000 each for the family of every farmer who died during the agitation, a move that had led to the CM being criticised for allegedly ignoring the families of farmers within Telangana while handing out relief to those in other states.
He will be joined by Delhi Chief Minister and Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) chief Arvind Kejriwal and Punjab CM Bhagwant Mann during the distribution of cheques.
During the next leg of his tour, in Karnataka, KCR will meet Janata Dal (Secular) president and former Prime Minister H.D. Deve Gowda in Bengaluru, with whom he had discussed the possibility of constituting a third, anti-BJP and anti-Congress front in 2018.
Then, after a quick break back in Hyderabad, he will finish his tour with visits to West Bengal and Bihar, where he will meet families of those killed in the Galwan Valley clash with China, and extend financial assistance to the bereaved.
An advocate of an anti-BJP, anti-Congress federal front until recently, KCR’s latest move is being seen as an attempt to enter the national stage ahead of the 2024 Lok Sabha elections.
KCR has, in the past, sought to collaborate with prominent regional leaders, including West Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee (Trinamool Congress), Samajwadi Party president Akhilesh Yadav, Tamil Nadu CM M.K. Stalin (Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam), Odisha CM Naveen Patnaik (Biju Janata Dal), Maharashtra CM Uddhav Thackeray (Shiv Sena), and Nationalist Congress Party chief Sharad Pawar. These meetings, however, yielded few results.
In April, during the TRS’ 21st foundation day celebration, KCR announced his intention of exploring national politics.
Abandoning his plan to forge a third front, he said the country needed a new agenda, not a new front. A staunch critic of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the BJP’s “divisive communal politics”, he added that the focus should not be on bringing down the BJP, but to bring about qualitative change for the people of the country.
If Hyderabad could set the agenda for national change, it would be a “moment of pride” for his state, he said.
(Edited by Zinnia Ray Chaudhuri)