Hyderabad: Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) chief K. Chandrashekar Rao’s idea of forming a federal front before the 2019 Lok Sabha elections got a push on Wednesday with YSR Congress Party (YSRCP) chief Y.S. Jagan Mohan Reddy backing it.

“I spoke with KCR on the phone and we discussed the idea of a federal front and how states are meted out injustice. He said that should be changed and that we need to act," Reddy said at a press conference with Rao’s son and TRS working president K.T. Rama Rao (KTR), after a meeting between the two.

Reddy, however, did not state whether YSRCP was ready to join the front.

The YSRCP leader pointed out that the 25 members of Parliament (MPs) cannot put much pressure on the centre to demand special category status for Andhra Pradesh, but support from 17 MPs from Telangana will strengthen their position.

However, it is to be seen how joining hands with the TRS will impact the YSRCP in Andhra Pradesh, given that KCR had spearheaded the separation of Telangana from the unified state.

KCR revived his idea of forming a non-Congress and non-Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) front soon after winning the Telangana assembly elections in December 2018. He met West Bengal and Odisha chief ministers Mamata Banerjee and Naveen Patnaik on the issue in the same month. KTR’s meeting with Reddy on Wednesday in Hyderabad was part of the same effort.

“On the special category status (for Andhra Pradesh), we are very clear. In the Rajya Sabha and the Lok Sabha, our stand was that it should be given. KCR will meet Jagan in the coming days when he goes to Andhra Pradesh to take discussions forward. Like minded forces should come together to make states stronger," KTR said.

KCR had also met Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam president M.K. Stalin, Janata Dal (Secular) chief H.D. Deve Gowda, and Samajwadi Party chief Akhilesh Yadav last year. He had then said that both the Congress and the BJP have let the country down.

TRS and the YSRCP have a common enemy in the form of the ruling Telugu Desam Party (TDP) in Andhra Pradesh, led by chief minister N. Chandrababu Naidu. Naidu himself is trying to stitch together an alliance against the BJP and has been meeting several opposition leaders for this. The TDP exited the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) in March 2018, after a bitter spat with the Centre over funding to Andhra Pradesh post the 2018 budget.

However, Naidu’s decision to join hands with the Congress, which he called a “democratic compulsion", surprised everyone, as the TDP was founded on an anti-Congress plank. Both parties were also part of a Congress-led grand alliance, which failed miserably, as the TRS won 88 of the 119 seats, while the Congress bagged 19 and the TDP just 2.

“KCR is somebody who has defeated Naidu and Jagan’s party is trying to build a narrative in Andhra Pradesh that the TDP is a failure. They basically want an alternative to Naidu, which is KCR, through his governance and policies. For KCR, this was a step forward to keep the federal front’s idea alive and he can also say that another state’s leader is ready to join him," said political analyst Palwai Raghavendra Reddy.

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