Telangana Chief Minister K. Chandrasekhar Rao has asked his ministers to be prepared for early Lok Sabha and state Assembly elections, sometime in November-December this year. KCR’s remarks assume significance as he said this soon after returning to Hyderabad after meeting Prime Minister Narendra Modi in New Delhi last week.
The Chief Minister, according to sources close to him, has told his ministers that he does not have any objections if elections are held early. The Chief Minister has already conveyed to the Prime Minister his willingness to go for simultaneous Lok Sabha and Assembly elections, whenever they are held. At least three senior ministers who spoke to this newspaper said that there was every possibility of the general elections being advanced by three to four months and that the Assembly elections in Telangana and Andhra Pradesh would also be clubbed with them. “Our CM’s assessment is that the polls will be held by November,” Telangana Deputy CM Kadiam Srihari told The Sunday Guardian.
Another senior minister, who is close to KCR, said that the BJP top brass sought the views of the CM on timing the Lok Sabha elections with those of the Assembly elections of Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh in October-November. The issue came up for discussion when KCR met Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh last week.
The CM discussed the issue with Governor E.S.L. Narasimhan too after returning to Hyderabad on Monday, the minister said. Though the Centre has not made up its mind on advancing the elections, these discussions indicate that the BJP leadership is weighing the options of holding an early election.
After his meeting with Prime Minister Narendra Modi, KCR appeared to be satisfied with the Centre’s response to the state’s wish-list and is ready to go with the BJP on a range of issues, even though, apparently, he is sticking to his plan of floating a front comprising non-Congress, non-BJP regional parties. However, KCR also appears to be more close to the BJP than to the Congress. In fact, he shared good vibes with BJP CMs such as Yogi Adityanath (Uttar Pradesh), Shivraj Singh Chouhan (Madhya Pradesh) and Raman Singh (Chhattisgarh) at the Niti Aayog Governing Council meeting last Sunday. KCR was the only non-NDA Chief Minister to extend his full support to the Niti Aayog’s agenda for the next one year.
KCR, according to sources, told the Prime Minister that he was striving hard to build a national consensus on some of his popular and innovative schemes such as farmers’ investment subsidy of Rs 4,000 per acre of land and universal insurance scheme for all farmers, piped drinking water for all households, etc. The Prime Minister even asked his officials to get the details of these schemes.
KCR appeared positive about considering the BJP’s request to extend his support to their candidate for Rajya Sabha Deputy Chairman’s post in the election to be held next month. A senior TRS MP from north-Telangana told this newspaper that the party with six Rajya Sabha members would back the ruling NDA’s candidate. TRS support is crucial to the NDA’s victory in the Rajya Sabha Deputy Chairman election. KCR supporting a BJP sponsored candidate in the Rajya Sabha is no surprise as he had already backed its nominee in the presidential election, Ramnath Kovind. KCR kept away from other non-BJP and non-Congress CMs at the recent Niti Aayog meeting. He also did not say anything in support of Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal who was on a protest last week.
Though West Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee and Karnataka CM H.D. Kumaraswamy were in New Delhi last week, KCR did not get in touch with them. Only a few months ago, KCR had met them as part of his plans to float a federal front. So it appears that the Telangana CM may have put on hold his plans to float a federal front before the Lok Sabha elections.
In Telangana, KCR’s main rival is the Opposition Congress, which is aspiring to stage a comeback after five years. Other parties like TDP, BJP and the Left are still marginal forces, though the BJP claims to be giving a fight to the TRS. KCR also maintains good relations with Asaduddin Owaisi’s All India Majlis Ittehadul Muslimeen which has one Lok Sabha member and seven MLAs from Hyderabad.
However, TRS MLC, Karne Prabhakar told this newspaper on Friday that even if KCR backed the NDA nominee for the Rajya Sabha Deputy Chairman post, TRS would continue to follow its independent line and would go it alone in the next elections. “There will not be any alliance with the BJP,” he said. This shows that even if KCR goes for an alliance with the BJP, it will be post the elections.f