Hyderabad: Acting chief minister K. Chandrashekar Rao, who stormed back to power in Telangana, is drawing up a national strategy to bring together like-minded regional political parties and unions to press for an alternative to the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and the Congress at the centre.

“There are workers unions, farmers unions and many others including NGOs, as well as social workers. We will call all of them and take down all their suggestions and plans," Rao, who was re-elected as the floor leader of the Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) on Wednesday, said in Hyderabad.

The rout of the opposition in the Telangana Assembly elections have pushed Rao to the fore of an evolving non-BJP, non-Congress-led alliance. Though similar attempts have failed in the past, Rao’s victory appears to have given him the confidence to push for such a front.

Rao has reached out to several parties in the past to try and build a momentum for a front, including former Prime Minister H.D. Deve Gowda-led Janata Dal (Secular), or JD(S), which shares power in Karnataka with the Congress.

The non-alignment of Rao-led TRS in the Assembly polls gives the party the option of portraying itself as an alternative to the two national parties, especially in the run up to the 2019 Lok Sabha elections. Much of Rao’s ambitions in the centre will depend on how many seats he is able to win in Telangana, which has 17 parliamentary constituencies.

Rao’s siding with the Union government on a few of its controversial economic reforms, including the much-criticized demonetization, is seen by the Congress as a sign of the regional party’s proximity to the BJP. “Demonetization was not bad. Don’t know why Modi stopped it halfway," Rao said on Wednesday.

Much of Rao’s argument rests on decentralizing the concentration of power at the centre and empowering states. “The Prime Minister was also chief minister of a state for three terms. We would have hoped that he being a former chief minister would have empowered the states much, much more. Because stronger the states, stronger the country, that is true federalism," said K.T. Rama Rao, a senior TRS leader and son of the party chief.

However, the Congress also hopes to consolidate and lead an anti-BJP front that began with the alliance with the JD(S) in Karnataka. The hopes of the Congress to lead the anti-BJP wave of regional parties next year, has been bolstered by the results of the assembly elections in Rajasthan, Chhattisgarh and Madhya Pradesh.

A day after the counting on Tuesday, chief electoral officer Rajat Kumar met governor E.S.L. Narasimhan and gave him a list of candidates who had won.

The TRS won 88 seats, the Congress 19, the All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen 7, the BJP 1, the Telugu Desam Party 2, independent 1 and the All India Forward Bloc 1 seat.

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