The front will mobilise non-Congress and non-BJP parties at the national level in the Lok Sabha polls.
HYDERABAD: Telangana Chief Minster K. Chandrasekhar Rao’s TRS and Y.S. Jagan Mohan Reddy’s YSR Congress will be in one league as far as national politics is concerned. An understanding between them has been reached to this effect after TRS working president and KCR’s son K.T. Rama Rao (KTR) called on Jagan at his Lotus Pond residence in Jubilee Hills in Hyderabad on 16 January.
KCR sent his son to invite Jagan to join the proposed federal front which would strive to mobilise non-Congress and non-BJP parties at the national level in the coming Lok Sabha elections. Jagan has agreed to join the front and accept the support offered by KCR to him in the coming Assembly and Lok Sabha elections in Andhra Pradesh.
As continuation of this understanding, KCR will soon go to Guntur, where Jagan has constructed a new house, and attend the house warming ceremony in the first week of February. Jagan is planning to extend a rousing welcome to KCR and both the leaders are expected to address a public rally, which would also kick-start their election campaign.
Telangana has 17 Lok Sabha seats, while Andhra has 25 MPs—together they can form a bloc of 42 Lok Sabha members as was the strength of the erstwhile combined AP. While KCR is confident of winning all the 17 Lok Sabha seats, including one seat held by his ally, Asaduddin Owaisi’s AIMIM, Jagan is hoping to bag most of the seats in Andhra this time.
KCR is particular to settle scores with Andhra Chief Minister and TDP president N. Chandrababu Naidu after the latter vigorously worked against him in the recent Telangana Assembly elections. Naidu not only formed a Mahakutami (grand alliance) with Congress, but also pumped in funds to try and defeat KCR in the elections, according to TRS leaders. After winning the elections, KCR vowed to give a “return gift” to Naidu in the coming elections in AP. “Naidu gave us a gift in these elections (by trying to defeat TRS), so certainly we will have to give him a return gift,” said KCR sarcastically. KCR, according to sources close to him, will not only help Jagan through logistically, but also campaign for his party, YSR Congress in Andhra.
When KCR went to Visakhapatnam in the last week of December to meet Swami Swaroopanandendra (to discuss the arrangements for a Chandi Yagam, which was held at his farmhouse at Gajwel from 17 to 20 January), he was accorded a warm welcome by Jagan’s supporters. KCR wished them success in the coming elections in AP.
KCR is of the view that the idea of coming together of all the regional parties as a federal front was catching up and that this idea was behind the formation of an alliance between Mayawati’s Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) and Akhilesh Yadav’s Samajwadi Party (SP) without Congress in Uttar Pradesh. KCR claimed support of BJD Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik to his federal front idea.
Mamata Banerjee called up KCR and invited him to her Kolkata rally on 19 January, but the latter declined to attend it on the ground that he could not share the dais with Congress leaders. Precisely for this reason, he did not attend the swearing-in ceremony of Karnataka Chief Minister H.D. Kumaraswamy last year.
KCR is on the job of mobilising the regional parties to keep them away from Congress in the post-poll scenario. His latest effort to take Jagan into his fold is considered to be a plus point for him as he was already in touch with Naveen Patnaik and Mamata Banerjee who have decided not to have any truck with Congress in their respective states.
TRS senior MP, A.P. Jitender Reddy told this newspaper that though KCR appeared to be a smaller force at this juncture in national politics, his concept of federal front without Congress and BJP was gaining ground across the regional players. For instance, Naveen Patnaik, Mamata Banerjee, Mayawati and Jagan have made it clear that they won’t have any truck with Congress in their states and thereby have endorsed the KCR line.
KCR will receive Akhilesh Yadav sometime in February to hold talks on the federal front idea. Akhilesh Yadav, along with Mayawati, has excluded the Congress from their alliance and would like to pitch for a government of regional parties if things unfold as per their expectations. Also, KCR plans to meet NCP chief Sharad Pawar in Mumbai, TRS sources said.