NEW DELHI: The Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) and Prashant Kishor-led Indian-Political Action Committee (I-PAC) are likely to part ways over differences of opinion on whether the TRS should go national or stay and consolidate itself as a regional party.
Kishor and Chief Minister of Telangana K. Chandrashkhar Rao, who is also the president of the TRS, had first met Kishor at Hyderabad in February 2022 to discuss the modalities on how I-PAC will help the TRS for the upcoming December 2023 Assembly elections. However, it was in April that the news of this professional relationship was shared unofficially with the media. Karthik Reddy Patlolla, senior TRS leader, told The Sunday Guardian that the party will come up with an official response on the matter soon. “Initially, we did hold talks with Prashant Kishor and these were matters related to state and national politics. These talks never matured to the point where I-PAC officially decided to work with the TRS. But the TRS has never officially validated that we are working with them for the election part. Our leader K. Chandrasekhar Rao has gone on record to say that Prashant Kishor is one of the leaders who understands the nation and this is because of our own aspirations of going national and becoming a national party. But nothing can be ruled out. In another week or 10 days, we will come up with an official statement on our relationship with I-PAC,” Reddy told The Sunday Guardian.
In its official response, I-PAC said: “There is absolutely no change in the engagement with TRS.”
KCR, who is eyeing a Prime Ministerial role after April 2024, is all set to relaunch the TRS as a national party in the coming days, something on the lines of what the Aam Aadmi Party did in the 2014 general elections. Sources told The Sunday Guardian that many of the employees of I-PAC who were based in Hyderabad and looking after the TRS campaign have been shifted to Bihar, Meghalaya and Vijayawada (Andhra Pradesh). Those who have been moved out from Hyderabad include Arjun Dutta who was heading the I-PAC team in Telangana. He has been shifted to Meghalaya.
In Bihar, Kishor is busy in charting a political ambition for himself through a path yatra-Jan Suraj Yatra. In Andhra Pradesh, I-PAC is working for the Jagan Reddy-led YSRCP. In Meghalaya, the Trinamool Congress is trying to get a foothold with the assistance of I-PAC.
While TRS has so far chosen to keep silent on the matter, sources said that Kishor believes that promoting TRS at the national level would meet the same fate which was suffered by the TMC which had tried to expand its foothold in Goa and Tripura, albeit unsuccessfully. And once this happens and I-PAC is still associated with the TRS, then its track record too would suffer. And hence it was better if I-PAC parted ways with TRS.
As of now, I-PAC is working with YSRCP in Andhra Pradesh and the All India Trinamool Congress in West Bengal. In the past, Kishor had a bitter separation with the Congress and the Janata Dal (United).