Thursday, July 18, 2024

Who would be hurt by KCR’s national party?

There is a logic behind Telangana Chief Minister K. Chandrasekhar Rao’s decision to go national and not to remain regional. Though he was the champion of Telangana Statehood cause and established his party, Telangana Rashtra Samiti, in 2001 only with the goal of achieving Telangana statehood, the policies he has been pursuing ever since he came to power in 2014 are general in nature and not Telangana specific.

Although he led the statehood movement from the front riding on the wave of popular sentiment, he did not articulate the essential Telangana idiom. It is not the dialect which he had mastered. Telangana has been known for anti-Nizam and anti-landlord sentiment, peasants armed struggle and Communist ideology, be it CPI’s or Maoist’s. Having born in a community which was known for landlords, zamindars or doras, he could not talk of communist ideals. He could not boast of the symbols of the peasants’ struggles. It is a different matter that today’s leaders of the CPI and CPM have declared support to TRS (now BRS) in Munugode by-election for their own reasons. But he cannot be a communist sympathizer at heart. Having decided to be friendly with Asaduddin Owaisi’s AIMIM, he cannot indulge in anti-Nizam or anti-Razakar rhetotic which the BJP is using to its advantage. Although he does not frequently praise Nizam’s rule, he does not utter a word against the last Nizam.

KCR cannot boast of a cementing force like Dravidian culture. Just like Biju Janata Dal in Odisha, TRS also is a regional party in Telangana without any distinct philosophy or sentiment. The moment KCR won the elections in 2014, he had invited TDP, Congress MLAs to join his team. He did not have any hesitation in welcoming those leaders who attacked the Telangana agitators and make them ministers. He is not unduly concerned about the movement or the persons who sacrificed their lot for the sake of Telangana statehood. He is friendly with contractors and politicians from Andhra Pradesh. If there was any Telangana flavour in the movement, that was done away with after KCR took up the reins. He would talk at length about statehood movement only to highlight his struggle and his role in the show. He did not do as much as expected to the families of the Telangana martyrs.

However, KCR knows the pulse of the people. He is smart and enterprising enough to take measures that would benefit the Dalits, Adivasis and farmers. While Dalits and Adivasis make roughly 25 percent of India’s populations, farmers are still the backbone of rural India. The residential schools, numbering almost 1000, are an example of his commitment to do good to Dalits, Adivasis, Muslims and BCs. Telangana stands first in the country in residential school education. The Dalit Bandhu scheme is rather ambitious but his sincerity cannot be doubted. If he has the money he would give financial assistance to every Dalit family. At least, that was the message he was able to send across the country. Adivasis are mostly with the BJP while the Dalits are divided in every State.

Former Chief Ministers Chandrababu Naidu and J. Jayalalithaa called their parties national but there in nothing national about them. It was only notional. But KCR has a plan of action. Whether he succeeds or not is something one has to wait and watch. But he understands that there is some scope for his national party. He wants occupy the space vacated by the Congress like Delhi Chief Minister Kejriwal has been doing. KCR can bank on farmers, Dalits and small parties like JD(S) of Kumaraswamy to begin with. He would remain chief minister until the next assembly elections which are due in a year from now. To win those elections, he needed the national clout or so he thinks. Telangana people would be proud of their chief minister who is planning to be prime minister and drawing crowds in Delhi and Lucknow. This would elevate him from the plane where Revanth Reddys and Bandi Sanjays would be confined. KCR would be challenging Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Union Home Minister Amit Shah fighting simultaneously against the BJP and the Congress in the home turf. He would like to decimate the Congress not only in Telangana but also in Andhra Pradesh and wherever possible. That was why he deliberately improved the profile of the likes of Sanjay and belittled that of Revanth. Munugode by-election result would give greater clarity. Most of the senior Congress leaders are allegedly in touch with KCR.

In Karnataka KCR has an ally in Kumarswamy and in Gujarat he has Shankar Singh Vaghela. Wherever Congress leaders are not happy with their party or leadership, he would like to make a kill. TRS has more funds than what the Congress has. He will have AIAMIM with him in the national game. In Andhra Pradesh, BRS has some space. The YSRCP is going to deny tickets to more than fifty sitting MLAs. Some of the TDP and Congress leaders are waiting for some resourceful leaders who can invest in elections. Most importantly, there is no established party or leader to speak against Modi or Shah. It is a peculiar situation in AP where both the ruling YSRCP and the Opposition TDP and Jan Sena are loyal to the BJP leadership. KCR’s would be the first and lone voice in AP to take on Modi. Both the Communist parties are with him in Telangana. CPI’s Ramakrishna of AP will be reluctant to leave Naidu and join KCR. However, he will have no choice but to join KCR’s bandwagon if CPI truly opposes the BJP. The CPM has no such problems. It can support KCR in AP. What happens if the CPI and CPM want to support an opposition alliance with the Congress as a partner has to be seen. CPM General Secretary Sitaram Yechuri has been active in uniting the opposition parties. He says the Congress should be part of the opposition front. Lalu Prasad Yadav and Nitish Kumar had a meeting with interim chief of Congress party Sonia Gandhi. Sharad Pawar and Uddhav Thakheray are in alliance with Congress. Only Mamata Banerjee and Akhilesh Yadav have so far maintained reservations about the Congress. Would these two or any one of them have an alliance or understanding with KCR is a moot question.

KCR is not like Stalin who has no national ambition but has regional grammar perfectly in place. Nor is he like Mamata Banerjee whose colleagues or either in jail or facing investigations by ED or CBI. The local BJP leaders threaten KCR of raids by central agencies and of imminent arrest. But so far there is no such move by the Centre. Why is the Centre keeping quiet when KCR is attacking the NDA government left, right and centre? This gives room to the allegation that after all Modi and KCR are on the same page. But that assessment does not hold water. No match fixing will allow a partner to go out of the way to attack the other to the extent that KCR and his son KTR do. On Friday, KTR spoke of ‘Modi Operandi’ in which investigating agencies such as ED and CBI are used against political opponents.’ It was again a frontal and no holds barred attack against Modi.

KCR’s and his national party’s role in 2024 general elections depends on the result of 2023 Assembly elections which would be indicated by Munugode by-election result. One has to wait till November 6 to know the outcome of the by-poll. But if KCR persists in his anti-Congress rhetoric besides being anti-BJP, the growth of his national clout would help the BJP at the national level and YSRCP in AP whether he intended it or not.

K. Ramachandra Murthy
K. Ramachandra Murthy
Founder & Editor


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Related Articles

Stay Connected


Latest Articles