Telangana Chief Minister and TRS supremo K. Chandrasekhar Rao (KCR) purposefully skipped the swearing-in ceremony of Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar in Patna on Friday. KCR wanted to convey the message to the ruling National Democratic Alliance that he did not want to associate with anti-BJP forces at the national level.
Nitish Kumar personally called up KCR at 12.45 pm on Thursday and invited him to the swearing-in ceremony. After exchanging pleasantries, KCR explained his inability to make it to the Patna event.
He, however, assured the Bihar CM that he would drop in at Patna sometime later to study developmental activities. KCR also invited Nitish Kumar to Hyderabad, sources close to the Telangana Rashtra Samithi said.
For the record, KCR told Nitish that he was busy with campaigning for the bypoll to the Warangal (SC) Lok Sabha constituency. The bypoll was held on Saturday. However, senior leaders close to the CM told The Sunday Guardian that he had made up his mind to skip the swearing-in ceremony a couple of days ago. “Otherwise, KCR deputed a team of party leaders to Patna,” an MP, preferring anonymity, told this paper.
In fact, JDU leaders in Delhi contacted TRS Parliamentary leader K. Keshav Rao a few days ago and enquired about the possibility of KCR attending the swearing-in ceremony. Rao, after ascertaining the mind of the CM, informed them that it was unlikely. Still, as a matter of courtesy, Nitish Kumar called up to invite KCR for the function.
KCR wanted to keep away from any activity designed as a show of strength of anti-BJP political forces in the country. This is part of his overall strategy to come close to Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the NDA at the Centre. Moreover, KCR is not ready to prop up any political formulation at the national level including the Congress, his main rival in Telangana.
Nitish Kumar’s Cabinet includes Congress ministers. This is a strange U-turn for KCR, who after coming to power last year, planned to host a conclave of regional party leaders, including those from Nitish’s Janata Dal United.
However, of late, he has dropped the idea and is keen on joining the NDA as it serves the interests of people of Telangana. That way, he wants to wean away the BJP and weaken the Telegu Desam Party in Telangana.