Is KCR walking in the same path as Naidu, against the BJP?
Kalvakuntla Chandrasekhara Rao (KCR), the Chief Minister of Telangana, is someone who has a strong sense of individuality and belonging. His political acumen continues to surprise every political leader as he clearly understands the pulse of the masses. Following the saffron party’s win in the Dubbaka Bypoll, creating considerable impact in the GHMC Elections and also sealing the Huzurabad Bypoll, the Pink Party has been going hammer and tongs over the BJP in Telangana.
The differences are out in the open now. It has even worsened, of late, where the Telangana CM has openly abused the Prime Minister and called him “Telangana Drohi.” This sudden stance against the BJP in such a vociferous manner indicates the backdrop of Assembly Elections due in Telangana next year. Additionally, this political strategy of KCR also indicates that the TRS is treating the BJP as the principal opposition while also going soft over the Congress, which is the main Opposition Party in the state.
Additionally, KCR’s comments on the neighbouring state of Andhra Pradesh and its power-deficit situation have also come as a surprise. Andhra is ruled by YSR Congress Party, which is in an alliance with the BJP. Therefore, KCR’s statements against his own political friend, Y.S. Jaganmohan Reddy, also indicates he is leaving no stone unturned to hit out at the BJP.
On the other hand, there are rumours that KCR’s son and IT Minister of Telangana, K.T. Rama Rao, is pushing his father to make him the CM of Telangana while KCR manages to create a third front at the Centre, against Narendra Modi. He has been meeting anti-NDA Chief Ministers and leaders lately. His visit to Mumbai to meet Maharashtra CM Uddhav Thackray recently along with NCP Chief Sharad Powar and other key leaders is indicative of his interest in national politics.
But, the question from political circles is that, with just 17 MP seats, Telangana is too small a state to make a difference at the Centre and can KCR pull off a Third Front the way former AP CM N.T. Rama Rao and later, N. Chandrababu Naidu pulled it off. Given that West Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee, Maharashtra’s MNS, Delhi’s AAP, Sharad Yadav, Tejaswi Yadav, Punjab’s Badals, Haryana’s Chowtalas, Tamil Nadu’s DMK and Kerala — all stand against the BJP — is it right for a small South Indian state leader to go against Narendra Modi at this point?
Also, one needs to recall how the former AP Chief Minister and TDP National President went against the BJP and supported the Indian National Congress and tried an Alternative Front against the saffron party in the 2019 elections. This not just turned out to be a great loss for Andhra Pradesh but also caused severe damage to Chandrababu’s image for going against Modi and the BJP while TDP lost badly to the YSRCP in the state assembly elections.
With the BJP juggernaut sweeping half the country and the Modi-Shah duo taking political vengeance to the next level (against leaders who don’t align with them), will KCR be able to survive this kind of political blow to his career? A reputed leader with great national political friends like Chandrababu Naidu himself couldn’t withstand the Modi-Shah blow, so will another dynamic Telugu state CM be in a position to take this? Before taking this step, KCR needs to pause and think if he is putting Telangana’s growth and development at risk at this point.
Given that Andhra Pradesh is seeing an onslaught of financial burden and lack of investments, Telangana’s could face the same fate if the BJP wishes to seek political revenge against KCR, eventually breaking the state and hitting its growth financially. Therefore, before jumping into the national political scene, KCR needs to be cautious of the consequences of going against the Modi-Shah duo at this point. He should also realise that he cannot sacrifice Telangana’s growth (after bifurcation) for his petty political ambitions.
May be, it is better to be safe than sorry and that’s what KCR needs to abide by right now!
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.