- Early elections, tie-up with Congress and apprehensions about cases
- Limited role in national politics
- Concern at the plight of the Rupee
In his marathon media conference on Sunday, Telangana Chief Minister K. Chandrasekhar Rao (KCR) raised some important questions and betrayed some apprehensions he entertains. The question regarding the falling value of the rupee is quite relevant which is not asked by the media or other political parties. To what pass the Indian economy has come from where Dr. Manmohan Singh had left it in 2014? Never in the history has the rupee was so cheap and weak. There should have been hue and cry all over the country. But there is not even a whisper.
Most inefficient PM
Calling Prime Minister Narendra Modi the most inefficient Prime Minister in the history of the country was also a statement loud and clear. He said the arrogance of the BJP leaders had gone up manifold during its rule. It was evident, KCR said, from the orchestrated offensive against the comments made by the Supreme Court Judges- Justice Pardiwala and Justice Surya Kant- over the controversy triggered by Nupur Sharma, the former BJP spokesperson. BJP used some retired judges to say that the SC judges had crossed the ‘Laxman Rekha.’ KCR called BJP government useless as the party’s national executive failed in providing direction to the country. Some harsh and bold comments.
There is however, nothing new in the diatribe and the scathing attack launched by KCR. He has been attacking the PM directly and also the BJP leaders at the State level. He was responding to the comments made or not made by the BJP leaders at the two-day meeting of the national executive. He also criticized the PM for not answering his questions posed before the meet. He has been consistent, of late, in his criticism of the PM and the BJP for four to five months. He appeared to have decided, at least for the present, to keep the war of attrition going till the elections.
KCR talking about horse trading does not carry conviction since he almost finished the TDP and took away more than fifty percent of the legislators elected on the Congress ticket in 2018.
There are some important takeaways from the media conference addressed by KCR. The top most inference would be that he is preparing for early poll. In case he dissolves the present Assembly, the Election Commission will have to organise early polls whether it likes it or not. It cannot have any excuse. The BJP also would not like to be seen opposing early elections. Bandi Sanjay, the chief of TBJP, has already said the BJP is prepared for election whenever they come.
Information about cases?
The second conclusion is that he has some reliable information that the Centre is planning to use Enforcement Directorate or the CBI against him. That was the reason why he spoke at length about the cases that are likely to be filed against him. He declared that there was no money and no laundering in his case. He made it clear that he was not the one to be scared by the BJP’s strategy to win leaders from other parties to its side with the intervention of CBI, Enforcement Directorate and other central agencies. He had shown a video which explained how leaders such as the present Assam Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma and civil aviation minister Jyotiraditya Scindia were won over by putting pressure on them. KCR said he is not afraid of the central agencies.
Tie-up with Congress?
The third point is a likely tie-up with the Congress at a later point. KCR spoke of non-BJP government at the Centre. He did not add ‘non-Congress’ this time. The Congress per se would not be willing to deal with KCR for what he did in 2014. But the larger interests of the party and the country might force it to have a truck with TRS as it did with the TDP, its sworn enemy thus far, in 2018 elections in Telangana. The politics of pragmatism are in vogue rather than the politics of principles and credibility. However, the Congress in Telangana under the leadership of Revanth Reddy may not agree for a tie-up with a TRS in elections. KCR also may not be entertaining such an idea. A Congress-TRS alliance in the fray would be to the advantage of the BJP. If TRS falls short of a majority after the elections, it may want to go for an alliance with the Congress. Say, if the Congress and the BJP bag 30 seats each, then the TRS, which would end up with 50 plus seats, may be inclined to have an alliance with the Congress. United AP or Telangana or AP States never threw up a hung assembly. The Telugu people were very clear about their preference.
Considering the national scene at the present, there is no scope of KCR floating Bharat Rashtra Samiti (BRS) although he mentioned it in his marathon. All his aggression is meant to save Telangana from falling to the BJP whenever elections are held. Addressing farmers’ meetings across the country along with Rakesh Tikait is neither here nor there. Tikait himself has a dearth of credibility in his relationship with the BJP. He is no Chaudhary Charan Singh. What role can KCR have in a meeting of farmers from UP or Rajasthan except repeating himself. He is not a dunce not to recognize his strengths and weaknesses. He knows better than anyone else that he has very limited role to play at the national level although he may emerge as the strongest, most vocal critic of the Prime Minister Modi and the ruling BJP overtaking West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee.
No Eknath Shindes possible in TS
One does not see any merit in the statement made by Bandi Sanjay that there are many Eknath Shindes to bury TRS politically. There is no one with the abilities and background of Eknath Shinde in the TRS. With Harish in line with his uncle one hundred percent and Etala Rajendra out of the way, there is no person who can mobilize support against KCR in the TRS. One would tend to agree with K Taraka Rama Rao (KTR)’s comment that KCR’s discourse in the media conference is a lesson for the students of political science and leader of the country who was in the top position for more than eight years has no guts to face media, although the media at the national level is as docile as it is in Hyderabad.
Polls in early 2023
KCR would not give up chief minister’s job and he would be trying to strengthen his party and try his best to win for the third time. He would spend more time outside his farm. But he keeps the pot boiling through his interactions with the media and some of the national leaders who are willing to chat with him. With early elections not far away, he would concentrate on the State for now and see if he can play a role in national level after April-May next years when the polls for Telangana Assembly are likely.
Also read: Reverse the trend