Hyderabad: With each man trying to build an opposition alliance for the 2019 Lok Sabha polls, the heads of India’s two Telugu-speaking states appear to be heading for a conflict. While Telangana caretaker chief minister K. Chandrashekar Rao has been talking of a non-Congress, non-Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) front, Andhra Pradesh chief minister N. Chandrababu Naidu’s latest move to build an alliance of regional powers with the Congress could throw a spanner in Rao’s works.

After exiting the BJP-led National Democratic Front (NDA) in March, Naidu waited for a good seven months before declaring his support to the Congress at the national level to defeat the BJP. The move has surprised many, given his party’s anti-Congress origins. The two parties have also decided to join hands for the upcoming state elections in Telangana.

“KCR’s (Rao) credibility is yet to evolve as a national leader. He will be at best considered as a regional satrap," said a senior Telegu Desam Party (TDP)leader, who did not want to be identified.

In March, KCR had pitched for a non-BJP, non-Congress front. He even met leaders including West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee, Samajwadi Party chief Akhilesh Yadav and Janata Dal (Secular) supremo H.D. Deve Gowda. However, of late, KCR has not said a word on this issue.

He is expected to pitch for it again after the assembly elections on 7 December, given Naidu’s move. B. Vinod, the Karimnagar TRS MP, said: “There is no role for Naidu to play as the Congress has its own alliance in other states across the country with different parties. I won’t be surprised if Naidu joins the NDA again if the latter requires a few MPs to win again."

“KCR’s thinking is that all regional parties should come together and bargain with national parties. We mooted this idea way back in 2006 under UPA-1, and told regional parties the same thing," Vinod added. Political analyst Palwai Raghavendra Reddy said KCR’s idea of a federal front is to tacitly support the BJP.

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