Hyderabad: Telangana Chief Minister K. Chandrasekhar Rao's "political, personal and policy" tirade against the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and Prime Minister Narendra Modi has put the state in poll mode. KCR's outburst against the Prime Minister is not just an off-the-cuff trademark remark but a calculated road map to state elections, scheduled for 2023, besides an eye on national politics.
Irked by constant taunts of BJP state president Bandi Sanjay and TPCC chief A. Revanth Reddy, KCR took on both in his inimitable style, more so against Bandi Sanjay who has been a vocal critic of KCR from the day he took charge of the party.
Bandi Sanjay's threat that KCR would be "soon behind bars" for alleged corruption in irrigation and other projects did not go down well with KCR and his family. After laying low for some time, KCR has retaliated and promised to expose the corruption in the ruling BJP at the Centre. He found fault with all the policies of Mr. Modi, including the policy of "hatred", "hijab" economics, and international diplomacy.
Initially, the Chief Minister set his eyes on national politics by floating a national party and forming a Third Front of parties minus the Congress against the BJP. He even claimed he was the Union minister in the Council of Ministers which was equal to the PM and that national politics was nothing new for him.
KCR met West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee in Kolkata and sought her support. However, sources in the ruling party said Mamata Banerjee did not find favour in a Third Front minus the Congress. He also met Tamil Nadu CM Stalin and claimed he spoke to other CMs as well in his endeavour.
Rumours were agog that if he shifts to the Centre, he will hand over the mantle to son and state minister for municipal administration and IT K.T Rama Rao but that did not materialise. Having failed to get a response for his proposed Third Front or an alternative to BJP minus the Congress, KCR seems to now be cosying up to the Congress going by his support for Congress MP Rahul Gandhi. KCR demanded the Prime Minister sack Assam Chief Minister Himanta Biswas Sarma over his personal remarks about Rahul Gandhi.
Biswas Sarma at a rally in poll-bound Uttarakhand attacked Gandhi for demanding proof of the September 2016 surgical strike and questioning the efficacy of the COVID-19 vaccines. "India conducted the surgical strike in Pakistan under his (General Bipin Rawat's) leadership. Rahul Gandhi demanded proof of the strike. Did we ever ask you for proof of whether you are Rajiv Gandhi's son or not?" Sarma questioned.
Furious KCR said, "Modiji, is this our Indian culture? Is this what has been taught in the Vedas, Mahabharata, Ramayana and Bhagavad Gita? I am asking BJP president Naddaji. Is it our culture? You sack him (Assam CM)," he said at a public meeting at Raigiri about 55 km from Hyderabad. Yet, Congress leaders are sceptical about a slippery KCR alliance with Congress after he ditched the alliance in lieu of the Telangana state. Not only that, KCR successfully marginalized Congress in Telangana, a tactical mistake, and supported BJP which has now backfired.
If KCR's close allies are to be believed, the Chief Minister will go all out on 10 March, the day the results of the Assembly elections in Uttar Pradesh, Punjab, Uttarakhand, Manipur, and Goa are announced and if BJP gets a drubbing. Elections are being held in these states from 10 February to 3 March.
"You will see KCR in action on 10 March. You know why? The results of five states will be out and he expects a drubbing for the BJP. If not, he will change his tune and accept the public mandate or float another theory," said an MLC. KCR was pally with Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the ruling BJP at the Centre and extend his support on various issues, including farm bills (which he backtracked later).
Having been a king in the state politics and facing no Opposition or vocal critics in the first term, KCR was going great guns. He marginalized Congress and vanished TDP and Left parties. But his honeymoon with BJP ended when Union Home minister Amit Shah, during his visit to the state, set the tone for the party and vowed to come to power defeating TRS in the next polls. State BJP chief Bandi Sanjay took the cue and attacked KCR.
Unexpected, the BJP won the Dubbaka by-poll, put on a fairly good show in the GHMC elections, and had a sensational win in Huzurabad where the party fielded KCR's close aide Etala Rajender. Etala had quit TRS and joined BJP, literally unnerving the ruling TRS and boosting the lung power of BJP president Bandi Sanjay.
In the 150-member GHMC polls 2020, TRS won 56 divisions while the BJP and All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen won 48 and 44 wards, respectively. After his volatile press meet, the growing gap between KCR and Modi was out in the open when KCR failed to receive Prime Minister Narendra Modi at the Hyderabad airport when the latter arrived here to inaugurate Saint Ramanuja's Statue of Equality near Shamshabad near here citing "sickness" first and later claiming "its personal visit of PM and no need for CM to receive." Instead, he sent animal husbandry minister T. Srinivas Yadav as minister in waiting to receive and send off the Prime Minister.
TPCC president A. Revanth Reddy, too, is irked by KCR. Sources say TRS is not averse to aligning with Congress minus Revanth Reddy. "KCR might be looking towards Congress, but there is a trust deficit. Not sure whether he is really against BJP or trying to make a field for TRS vs BJP in Telangana cutting Congress," said a Congress leader.
TRS supremo, at a press meet, called all parties to come together to throw out the BJP misrule saying if not, then "the country will be ruined." He added, "I am in constant touch with various political leaders from non-BJP parties. There are serious efforts to come together to end the BJP rule. These efforts will fructify soon and I can assure you that I will be playing a major role."
KCR indicated he will be visiting Mumbai soon to meet Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray to seek his support. "It should not be about becoming the Prime Minister. There are several eminent political leaders in the country, but we can't predict what will happen in the future. Stopping BJP misrule should be uppermost in the minds of all political leaders for now," he said adding he was not averse to launching a national party. "Why not, if the situation demands? I have the guts and have been in the political arena for four decades," he remarked.
Looks like KCR is quite serious about his plans and things will be crystal clear on 10 March.