KCR & NCB’s race to become Kingmakers, than King


(MS Shanker)

With presumptions and assumptions high over post May 23 verdict to 17th Lok Sabha will be fractured, the two Telugu state chief ministers – K Chandrasekhara Rao of Telangana and Nara Chandrababu Naidu of residual Andhra Pradesh – are seen visibly vying with each other to don the ‘Kingmaker’ role in national politics.

If KCR, with an eye on PM’s ‘gaddi’ is claiming to cobble a non-BJP and non-Congress group, mostly consisting all regional satraps and the Left parties, Naidu is bent upon only to prevent Modi-headed BJP bouncing back to power.  Naidu, whose return to power in AP looks more or less uncertain, however, made his intentions clear over PM ambitions.  “I am not in the race,” he told Outlook in an exclusive interview published couple of weeks ago.

In the same breath, he disagree with his Telangana counterpart of installing a non-Congress and non-BJP government at the Centre after May 23 results.  He is realistic as it is not possible for regional parties, even if all of them cometogether and with both the Left parties cannot form a government at the Centre, without support of either of the two national parties – Congress or BJP.

Hence, he wanted to wait till the results are out and work out the strategy.  How the entire Opposition can join hands to prevent Modi returning to power at the Centre, one has to wait and see.

He too feels a fractured verdict likely to become a reality with the BJP and its NDA allies falling short to stake claim to form next government.

Unlike his counterpart, Naidu succeeded in bringing as many as 21 parties, including both the Left parties together.  They are already fighting together against the EVMs use or chalking out post-poll strategies.

However, he too is not clear whether those formidable regional parties like the Trinamul Congress (TMC) of Mamata Banjerjee in West Bengal, or the Mayawati-headed Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) or its ally Samajwad Party-led by Akhilesh Yadav in UP, which way they all wish to move.   Whether they are planning separate Front, akin to that of KCR’s Federal Front or break away after the polls to bargain for their own sustenance with whoever got better chance to form the next government.

But, Naidu looks more than confident of a non-BJP government and hence in no great hurry to name any single individual as the possible Opposition PM candidate post-verdict, like the DMK chief Stalin.

Stalin minced no words, when he openly declared that Congress President Rahul Gandhi, will be the next Prime Minister of the Opposition parties, especially erstwhile UPA allies.

While, Naidu is unlikely to make any shift in his stance, the KCR appears to have been tamed in his ambitious plan to form a non-Congress and non-BJP Front, which not only looks difficult, but impossible too.  Interestingly, no sooner his party chief KCR got cold-shouldered response from the DMK as well JDU of Kumara Swamy, the Karnataka Chief Minister, one of TRS MP T Vinod came out with a statement dropping enough hints that his party not naïve to the idea of non-BJP government at the Centre, instead a non-Congress.  “We are open to any proposal to see a Opposition-led government at the Centre,” was the TRS MP’s argument.

Taking advantage of the TRS MP statement, senior Congress leader Veerappa Moily was quick to seize the opportunity to say, “it’s heartening to know that the TRS is open to the idea of installing a non-BJP government at the Centre.”  He also justified the TRS decision to join the Opposition, though indirectly, to prevent Modi returning to power.

Interestingly, the political analysts feel otherwise.  They firmly believe that KCR, who along with YSRCP headed by Y S Jaganmohan Reddy, who many pollsters predict of sweeping the polls in Andhra Pradesh, wanted to form a formidable combination from Telugu states for a better bargain with whoever stakes claim to form next government at the Centre, after May 23.

Though KCR and Naidu making too much of noise over playing ‘kingmaker’ role, the YSRCP chief gone ‘mute’ after polls, though his supporters claim of their party victory is a foregone conclusion.  Jaganmohan Reddy, himself is non-committal of supporting any group which stakes claims of forming government post-verdict on May 23, notwithstanding the fact that KCR presuming that the former is with him, made his options clear; “which ever group wish to form next government and needs my party support, my one-line demand is ‘grant special status’ to AP and take our guaranteed support.’

KCR, who looks more than confident of winning all the 16 seats, become a Kingmaker without YSRCP support?  What is his party has to concede half a dozen LS seats to the Congress and BJP?  YSRCP, which is expected to win 15-18 seats, what if ends up winning less than that?  These  many other questions bound to haunt KCR.

“KCR looks too ambitious to become PM, not realizing the fact that with 15 or 16 how can he stake claim and who is going to accept him as the consensus candidate,” wonder a senior Congress leader K Kodanda Reddy.  The veteran Congress leader feels that the Congress bound to end up as second single largest party after the BJP and if the latter fails to form the government, then the President may invite the Congress, as no other alternative left before him.  In such a scenario, it’s the Congress which has to decide who will the best bet, if it has to concede the PM post to their allies.  That being the case, KCR is living in wildest dreams to become a Kingmaker in his bid to become a King himself, which is more unlikely to happen.”