Telangana Chief Minister and Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) president K. Chandrasekhar Rao’s idea of floating a federal front at the national level has arisen out of his political compulsions in the state. KCR has announced his decision to put together a federal front (initially, it was called the third front) last Sunday after waiting for long to join the ruling BJP-led NDA at the Centre.
Without wasting time, KCR swung into action by setting up a panel of his political advisers to chalk out a document for circulation among the political parties which might join the new front. This front would comprise non-BJP and non-Congress parties from different states. TRS Rajya Sabha member K. Keshav Rao will oversee the document preparation.
KCR last week was involved in a controversy for his alleged derogatory remarks against Prime Minister Narendra Modi at a public meeting in Karimnagar district two weeks ago. Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman led the BJP’s protests against the remarks. BJP MLA Chintala Ramachandra Reddy threatened to file a private complaint with the police against the Chief Minister for publicly insulting the PM.
Responding to the BJP’s protests, KCR, while explaining that he hadn’t made any abusive remarks against the PM, said that he would be floating an alternative front to the BJP and Congress at the national level and it would include all regional parties which fight for greater rights of states in tune with the federal spirit of the Constitution.
Referring to the threats of Ramachandra Reddy and other BJP activists that he would be jailed for his anti-PM comments, KCR said: “I am not afraid of going to jail; otherwise, I wouldn’t have led the separate Telangana agitation for 15 years. But, those who dare to touch me would be destroyed.” At the same time, the CM called for ending interference of the Centre in states’ rights.
“Why should we have a scheme like the Pradhan Mantri Sadak Yojana? What role will a PM have in laying roads in a remote village of a state? Why should the Centre directly deposit the money in the bank account of a wage earner under MNREGA?” said KCR at a preparatory meeting of the front at his official residence here on Saturday.
Though the TRS president appears to be driven by the need to fight for rights of states, the plan to float a federal front that excludes BJP and Congress is chiefly guided by his political compulsions at home—Telangana. He patiently waited for three years to join the BJP-led NDA and was vocal in supporting its major policies like demonetisation and GST.
There were reports that KCR proposed before the BJP top brass that his daughter and Nizambad MP K. Kavitha be made a Central minister if TRS were to be taken into the NDA. However, Kavitha later denied the reports and said that TRS was not interested in joining any front, but would rather prefer to float a new one on its own.
In Telangana, Congress is the main Opposition party to the ruling TRS, with 15 MLAs. TDP lost its sheen after 12 out of 15 of its MLAs joined TRS in the last three years. As Telangana political parties joint action committee chairman Kodandaram evinced interest in floating a new political party and going with the Congress-led camp, KCR has no other option, but to take on the grand old party.
The BJP, too, announced that it would emerge as an alternative to TRS in Telangana and has started efforts to expand the party to every village in the state. Faced with the simultaneous onslaught by Congress and BJP, KCR is left with no option, but to go for a new front where there is no space for these two national parties.
Immediately after he announced his plans to float a federal front, West Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee, former CMs of Jharkhand and Chhattisgarh, Hemant Soren and Ajit Jogi respectively, and AIMIM president Asaduddin Owaisi and Jana Sena leader Pawan Kalyan extended their support to KCR.