If exit poll results predicting a National Democratic Alliance (NDA) win in the 2019 Lok Sabha elections are proved correct, the federal front proposed by Telangana chief minister and Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) chief K. Chandrashekar Rao (KCR) might not materialize after all.
That in turn would mean that YSR Congress Party (YSRCP) chief Y.S. Jagan Mohan Reddy, the Andhra Pradesh opposition leader who publicly supported the idea, will also be cast out of central politics.
However, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) is unlikely to make major inroads in either Telangana or Andhra Pradesh, barring a few wins in the former.
KCR put forth the idea of a federal front last year and has been talking about forming a non-Congress, non-Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) coalition to give states more leverage through regional parties.
KCR might agree to provide outside or issue-based support, if the BJP-led NDA falls just short of the required seats to form a government (273 seats), but only if he is invited to be part of the government, said a senior TRS leader who did not want to be named. “Mostly, if they need support, they will invite KCR and Jagan together. There are other regional leaders who might be willing to provide support. We will have to wait and watch," he said.
KCR has already met a string of regional leaders including Jagan Mohan Reddy, chief ministers H.D. Kumaraswamy (Karnataka), Mamata Banerjee (West Bengal), and Naveen Patnaik (Odisha), as well as Samajwadi Party chief Akhilesh Yadav. The Telangana chief minister also met Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) chief M. K. Stalin, as well as Kerala chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan, to discuss his proposal earlier this month.
“KCR definitely wants to form a federal front, but it might not materialize now. However, in general he has not had issues with the BJP-led centre since 2014. So he might be open to supporting it too, but that again depends on the results," said the TRS leader mentioned above.
Telangana has 17 Lok Sabha seats and TRS is confident of winning nearly all. Various exit polls predicted that Rao will win around 12, and YSRCP 13-20 in AP out of 25 (News18India-IPSOS predicts between 10 and 12 for the TDP and 13-14 for YSRCP).
“Whatever the numbers, KCR and Jagan are in a situation where they need support from the next central government. Unless they have a cordial relationship with the Union government, they will not get the required support. If the NDA falls short of say 30 seats, these two leaders will become lions. But even if that isn’t the case, they will provide support," said political analyst Palwai Raghavendra Reddy.