BRS & political ambitions around it
At the time of the announcement of the Bharat Rashtra Party (BRS), Telangana CM K. Chandrasekhar Rao had one political friend from the neighbouring state of Karnataka who is H.D. Kumaraswamy, son of JD(S) founder Deve Gowda. This also sent a clear message that JD(S) and BRS could be alliance partners. While they are ideologically inclined, there is still room for falling apart anytime.
KCR is believed to always have had national ambitions. From working as a Shipping Minister at the Centre during the Congress (UPA) government, he has seen himself as someone who could make a difference at the Centre. Currently, the national political atmosphere is such that the Congress is weak and the BJP places itself as an arrogant (full of itself) position of ruling the country with a majority. Amidst this kind of environment, KCR believes the time is ripe for an alternative front which could give a considerable fight to the BJP.
In his ambition to emerge as a national player and take on the Narendra Modi-led BJP government at the Centre, KCR has dumped the “Telangana” identity of his party that has been his strength all these years.
Telangana sentiment worked in his favour
In fact, it was his long-drawn struggle for the Telangana identity that catapulted the TRS to power in the first assembly election held in the state in 2014. KCR returned to power for a second successive term in the December 2018 assembly election, riding on this strong Telangana sentiment among the people. In the past four years, the KCR government made every attempt to exploit this Telangana sentiment by targeting the Modi government at the Centre for allegedly meting out step-motherly treatment towards Telangana.
It has also been indulging in legal battles with the neighbouring Andhra Pradesh on various issues concerning Telangana, including increased share in Krishna river water to Telangana and sharing of assets between the two states as per AP Reorganisation Act etc. By transforming the TRS into BRS, KCR has lost this “emotional bonding” with Telangana.
No more T bonding?
The very existence of the TRS lies in playing up Telangana sentiment against the so-called exploitation and flaring up emotions on crucial issues such as water, financial resources and employment. And, KCR has mastered the art of mobilising people against an issue, every time when he went for elections.
But, this time, because he doesn’t have an emotional issue to play up in the upcoming elections, he has chosen to project Modi as the villain. Analysts say that all his schemes such as Dalita Bandhu which he expected to do well in the state, haven’t garnered much response. This also meant all his schemes, the state economy and debts rising are working against him.
Schemes not working for KCR?
In such a situation, he doesn’t have even the sentiment working for him. And, hence, he shifted to make “Modi the bad guy.” However, if one observes the timing of the launch, one can clearly state that at the national level, there is no need for one more political party at a time when India’s leading party had won with an absolute majority.
Given that the timing of BRS announcement seems a bit off, it remains to be seen how KCR will cash in on his national ambitions and pitch himself as a formidable opponent to a mighty leader like Modi.
TEJASWINI PAGADALA is an independent communications consultant. She has previously worked with the Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister’s Office as the Communications Officer where she has written English speeches for the CM, managed English media communication from the CMO and handled social media accounts of Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister and the Government.