(M S Shanker)
During the pre poll stage of Lok Sabha elections in May 2019, Telangana Chief Minister, K Chandrasekhara Rao (KCR) attempted to forge “Federal Front”, as an alternative to both the BJP and the Congress Party, in pursuit aspirations to become PM; but failed to rally opposition political parties.
Following TRS sweeping electoral victory in municipal polls, and also the setback to the BJP and the Congress Party in Delhi polls, KCR is set to revive his ambitious PM goal. As per insider (anonymous) news, KCR is all set to anoint his son and Minister for IT and Municipal Administration K T Rama Rao (KTR) sooner than later. He has apparently set Ugadi, the Telugu New Year, as muhurat.
To recount, KCR had personally met regional satraps to include: Mamata Banerjee (TMC), M Karunanidhi and his son Stalin (DMK), Naveen Patnaik (BJD) and former PM and JD(S) leader, Deve Gowda and his son Kumaraswamy. His move surprised many as KCR managed to get the nod from the BJP-led NDA government at the Centre to pre-pone the new state’s assembly elections in 2018 November instead general elections, scheduled for June 2019. KCR, after TRS emphatic victory in the state assembly, claimed to sweep the 17 MP seats in Lok Sabha elections.
However, his efforts failed as his AP counterpart, Nara Chandrababu Naidu, too swung into action to cobble Opposition unity by joining hands with the Congress – Mahaghatabandhan. This was after his party chose to pull out NDA alliance, complaining that Modi government has failed to fulfill its electoral assurance to accord Special Category Status (SCS) to subsidiary Andhra Pradesh. TDP claimed that the Congress headed UPA government had orally assured in the parliament of the SCS to AP as it lost Hyderabad capital city to the new state.
Initially, Mamata, Deve Gowda and the DMK initially favorably viewed the proposal to align with KCR to form a formidable non-Congress and non-BJP Front. Subsequently, following the JD(S) and the DMK forging alliance with the Congress in the Lok Sabha polls, KCRs initiative fizzled out. however, suffered electoral reverses in the LS polls as he lost four seats to the BJP and another three to the Congress of the total 17 seats. In other words, he had fallen flat on his nose and was rather forced to shelve his national ambitious. He and his party colleagues claimed of sweeping the LS polls to as in case of assembly polls, held less than six months before, by winning all the 16 out of 17, leaving the lone Hyderabad seat to its ally AIMIM.
Now, KCR has announced that he is ready to take on BJP-led NDA government at the Centre. He has made his intentions quite explicit by declaring to pass a resolution in the state assembly against the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA). Although, only 6 states (Kerala, Punjab, West Bengal, Punjab, Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh) have passed such resolutions with the Kerala taking the lead, followed by Punjab and later Rajasthan, KCR claimed that as many as 16 state assemblies are ready to pass such resolutions against CAA.
It is despite, Kapil Sibal, the senior Congress leader and legal luminary, making it clear that the state governments have no powers whatsoever as per the Constitution to oppose the laws framed by the Centre. The CAA and NCR (for Assam, as per the directive of SC), in fact, was passed by both the Houses of Parliament democratically.
Some Opposition parties, including AIMIM, besides others filed petitions challenging the CAA and pleading the apex court to stay its implementation.
But, the Supreme Court has refused to stay CAA and NCR, but sought the Centre’s response to 134 petitions filed by various people opposing it within two weeks time. The Supreme Court had also directed the state High Courts not to entertain any petitions challenging the CAA and NCR.
Nonetheless, KCR is looking to exploit the opportunity at the national level. With emphatic wins in the Municipal polls, sources close to KCR claims that he is great hurry to ensure smooth transfer of power to his son, KTR, reasons best known to him. Some say, KCR, who is a high diabetic patient would not delay any further of seeing his son in CM’s chair, with reported uncertainties over his health condition. Though, he appears hale and healthy, yet some health problems like chronic diabetes are bothering him most of late.
That apart, he is also unable to reconcile or come to grips to the humiliating defeat of his daughter Kavitha in the LS polls. She lost to BJP candidate in Nizamabad constituency.
KCR and his loyalists suspect any more delay of making his son KTR his successor, may prove expensive as T Harish Rao, a Minister and his nephew, reportedly a potential threat.
In that backdrop, KCR wants to ensure smooth transfer of power in the state sooner than later. KCR has neutralized Harish Rao, by roping in another nephew Santosh, whom he not only made RS member but also an active functionary in his CMO. That was only to strengthen KTR hands in case of any unforeseen eventuality.
Though, KCR has dropped enough hints to revive ambitious plans to form a formidable Third Front or Federal Front roping in non-Congress and non-BJP parties, taking the widespread opposition to the NDA’s CAA and NCR, many political analysts feel he may face same humiliation as he did before the LS polls. This was in the wake of assembly polls, where the regional parties like the TMC in West Bengal, where the polls are scheduled next year, are fighting with their backs.
The BJP, which has managed to improve its tally in the Municipal polls after winning four LS seats, is keeping a close watch on KCR moves and likely to seize the opportunity to cause further embarrassment to the ruling party, if its leader opts to make his son the next CM.
Hence, one has to wait and watch the political developments that are likely to unfold in next couple of months.