Hyderabad: In spite of finding no takers for his federal front idea, Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) supremo K. Chandrashekhar Rao is eyeing a role at national politics post the Lok Sabha election results in May. Senior TRS leaders said that Rao might not contest now (he is likely to do it after the polls by vacating a TRS seat), his nephew and Siddipet MLA (who was the irrigation minister in the previous TRS government) T. Harish Rao may contest in this general elections to play a bigger role if it comes to that.
Since last year, Rao, also known as KCR, has been talking about forming a non-Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and non-Congress federal front. The Telangana chief minister met several political party chiefs like West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee, Samajwadi Party head Akhilesh Yadav, YSR Congress Party (YSRCP) president Y. S. Jagan Mohan Reddy, Janata Dal (Secular) chief H. D. Deve Gowda and others. But only Reddy responded positively to it so far.
“There is no chance for the federal front idea to work, as there is not enough time now. But unless a party rejects the idea, then it can be taken as a no from them. KCR may not contest now in the Lok Sabha elections, but he might later depending on the election results if he feels his presence is needed there," said a senior TRS leader, who did not want to be identified. He added that KCR also thinks that the BJP won’t get an absolute majority, hinting that the TRS might be open to provide outside support.
“Harish Rao will be the first one to be sent to Delhi," the TRS leader also mentioned, with regard to the TRS playing a role at the Centre if the situation arises. Harish Rao, who was the irrigation minister under the TRS’s first term between 2014-18, is currently without a ministerial berth. He is said to be unhappy over the situation, as Rao’s son K. T. Rama Rao, who was the IT minister in the last government, has gained prominence within the TRS, especially after being made the working president recently.
The TRS this time is also ambitiously looking at winning 16 of the 17 Lok Sabha seats in Telangana, in the face if a weakened Congress, which has lost 4 of its 19 MLAs (of the total 119) to the TRS. KCR also led his party to a stunning victory in the 2018 assembly elections by winning 88 seats. In the 2014 general elections, it won 11 parliamentary seats. Subsequently, four MPs from the opposition defected to the TRS. The party is likely to announce its Lok Sabha candidates by 16 March.
“With TRS anything is possible. Their objective is to use the oppoutunity for two things: one, to win 16 seats and second to put an end to the Harish and KTR issue. If at all there is any threat to KTR, it is from Harish, who will continue to be in the state and stay connected to party leaders. In order to ease the situation, they might push him to another orbit, which is Delhi. I think he might contest while he is the chief minister, and take a call on what to do," opined political analyst Palwai Raghavendra Reddy.