The Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS), led by party supremo (and Telangana chief minister) K. Chandrashekhar Rao, in all likelihood will support the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) if the latter is short of reaching the halfway mark in the Lok Sabha. TRS leaders however said that the support will be from outside and not as part of the NDA, and conceded that the federal front idea will be a non-started if NDA gets close to the required 273 seats.
Rao (known as KCR) has always maintained that he will form a non-BJP and non-Congress federal front post the general election results, a senior TRS leader said, who did not want to be quoted, said “We supported the BJP in parliament over certain issues in Telangana’s interest. Similarly, KCR wants to form a federal front, but if the NDA gets 250 seats (or close to it), then the front won’t work."
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So far, KCR’s idea has received support only from Y. S. Jagan Mohan Reddy, leader of the main opposition YSR Congress in Andhra Pradesh. The Telangana chief minister has met a string of regional leaders including Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) chief Mayawati, Samajwadi Party supremo Akhilesh Yadav, All India Trinamool Congress leader Mamata Banerjee, Janata Dal (Secular) supremo and former prime minister Deve Gowda, and others. But no one else has announced support for the federal front.
Moreover, in case the TRS ends up supporting the BJP at the Centre, the scenario will however put the TRS at odds with the All India Majilis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen, led by Hyderabad MP Asaduddin Owaisi, who is a very vocal critic of the BJP and prime minister Narendra Modi. Both parties are in an unofficial alliance, and Owaisi in his campaigns has asked the public to vote for Rao during his campaigns in the Lok Sabha and 2018 assembly elections.
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The AIMIM currently has seven of Hyderabad’s assembly seats and the Hyderabad Lok Sabha seat (held by Owaisi), all of which mostly comprise the old city areas of Telangana’s capital. The TRS has close to 100 of the 110 MLAs currently (including defections from opposition parties). It won 88 seats in the assembly polls last year.
“We will provide issue based support only. It won’t be an issue with the AIMIM. Our main goal is to form a federal front with KCR leading it," said the TRS leader, when asked about the situation. A senior AIMIM functionary from Hyderabad, who also did not want to be quoted, said he was confident that KCR would not support BJP.
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Political analyst Palwai Raghavendra Reddy however said that the TRS’s stand on providing support to the NDA is not surprising and in tune with what it has been doing over the last five years. “Only if KCR decides to formally join the NDA and be a part of the union cabinet will things will change and Owaisi will then take a call on the AIMIM’s relationship with the TRS," he added.
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