Hyderabad: A political strategist can only add to a party’s performance, but not be the sole reason for its election victory, said Telangana IT and Municipal Administration Minister K.T. Rama Rao Sunday, ahead of a meeting with Prashant Kishor at his father and Telangana Chief Minister K.Chandrasekar Rao’s Hyderabad residence-cum-office, Pragathi Bhavan. Both KTR and KCR were present at the meeting with the political strategist.
While KTR, also the working president of the ruling Telangana Rashtra Samithi party in the state, confirmed that his party will be working with the once-Kishor-led Indian Political Action Committee (I-PAC) ahead of the of the 2023 assembly elections in Telangana, he added, “All these strategists or firms like I-PAC can only augment, can only complement you. So therefore, to overstress or overemphasise that an I-PAC will win you an election or a political strategist will win you an election is a bit of a stretch. To assume that I-PAC will dictate terms and tell me what to do, I think it is really kind of an insult also. TRS will win the election on its own”.
While an association between Kishor and the TRS has been anticipated in the past few months — at a press meet in March, KCR had claimed that Kishor was his “best friend” and has been working with the TRS in Telangana and also to bring a change in national politics — KTR said Sunday that his party had also been in talks with other firms and strategists, including Sunil Kanugolu, who is now associated with the Congress in Karnataka.
According to the TRS working president, the role of I-PAC will be to capture the digital audience and strengthen the party’s presence on the medium, primarily targeting first time voters.
Kishor’s meeting with the TRS leaders came just over a week after his meeting with Congress president Sonia Gandhi and other senior Congress leaders on 16 April. Speculations are also rife on Kishor joining the Congress as ‘advisor’.
“We are officially working with I-PAC and Prashant Kishor introduced us to the firm. He is the founder of the firm, but he has dissociated himself with I-PAC. If he wants to do his own politics that should not be a problem,” said KTR.
Interestingly, the Congress is in opposition to the TRS in Telangana. Asked if this could be possible conflict of interest in the future, KTR said his party was simply taking advise from Kishor because of his political expertise.
“If someone connected to politics, who has been in an advisory role in other places, is offering you some input, would it not be undemocratic to not meet him?” KTR asked the media Sunday.
The Telangana CM has been pushing for a non-BJP, non-Congress front in the country for the past three years.
‘Congress failure to capitalise on anti-incumbency Modi’s biggest strength’
Lashing out at national parties like the BJP and Congress Sunday, KTR said that while the BJP works without an agenda of development and turns to communal politics for gain, the Congress’ failure to capitalise on the anti-incumbency sentiments in the country, has become Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s “biggest strength”. He added that even with Kishor on board, there was no hope for the Congress.
“BJP is a party with no agenda of development, be it for Telangana or anywhere. There are no national projects allotted to Telangana, no industrial corridors, which we have been demanding. And wherever Congress is directly contesting with BJP, the latter looks like a hulk because of Congress’ inability to bring out issues to the centrestage. It is a tried and tested and dusted commodity. So, even with PK (Kishor), I do not see any hope for the Congress,” KTR said.
He added: “Rahul Gandhi is not able to win his own seat. How will he ensure the party wins other seats?”.
While KTR’s father and Telangana CM, KCR, has been pushing for an alternative front of regional parties since 2018, he has been unable to make much headway in that direction. The leader met Jharkhand Chief Minister Hemant Soren, and his father Shibu Soren, last month, but claimed it was not for any front.
Meanwhile, there has been trouble at home too for the TRS government, with reports of an alleged tiff with Governor Tamilisai Soundararajan doing the rounds.
While Soundararajan has pointed out alleged protocol breach in state and said it is challenging to work with KCR, the CM has said that Governor should chose if she wants to be Telangana BJP leader or hold the constitutional post of a Governor.
As the tiff between the two escalated, Tamilisai reportedly said earlier this month that had she used her powers and withheld permission for the legislative assembly session in March, leading to its dissolution.
In March, the KCR government, went ahead with the budget session of the assembly without the customary Governor’s address. While the government claimed that the address was not mandatory for a session which was just a continuation of a previous one — the session had been adjourned sine de on 8 October and not prorogued — the Governor had expressed displeasure at the lapse.
(Edited by Poulomi Banerjee)