New Delhi: It will be a battle-royale in the Parliament as TRS and BJP are bracing up for a massive showdown, for the first time, over the controversial Citizenship Amendment Bill (CAB).
The bill was introduced by the BJP-led NDA government in the Lok Sabha on Monday. It will be introduced in the Upper House on Tuesday.
TRS Chief and Telangana State Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao (KCR) issued a whip to his MPs in both Houses to vote against the bill, whenever it comes up for voting.
This is a complete deviation from KCR’s earlier stand of supporting BJP on all issues since 2014. The development is expected to have far-reaching implications in Telangana in the days ahead.
KCR mandated all his party MPs to attend Parliamentary proceedings on Monday and Tuesday, oppose the CAB tooth and nail and subsequently vote against it.
Though TRS was never part of BJP-led NDA, it supported all the Bills introduced in Parliament by the Union Government.
During NDA-I tenure from 2014-2019, the TRS supported demonetisaton, GST, election of President and Vice-President. It extended its support to NDA-II government, formed in May of this year, by supporting crucial Bills meant for Reorganisation of Jammu and Kashmir and repeal of Article 370 by voting in their favour.
Even in the case of the controversial Triple Talaq Bill, though TRS did not vote in favour of the Bill, it indirectly helped its passage by abstaining from voting. This fuelled speculations that TRS is a ‘secret friend’ of BJP. However, KCR’s latest decision to vote against CAB is being viewed as a significant shift in TRS stand towards BJP.
The political equations between TRS and BJP have altered since the 2019 general elections. The BJP shocked the TRS by bagging four Lok Sabha seats in TS, including the manner KCR’s daughter Kavitha was unseated from Nizamabad Lok Sabha seat and his close aide B Vinod Kumar lost in Karimnagar. The BJP also wrested Adilabad Lok Sabha seat from TRS, while retaining the Secunderabad Lok Sabha seat. The north Telangana districts were considered to be TRS bastion.
Since elections, TRS and BJP have been engaged in a bitter political battle as the latter is attempting to emerge as an alternative party prior to the 2023 Assembly polls. To achieve this, the BJP has intensified its attacks on the TRS and KCR and has been taking up agitation programmes on regular basis, highlighting the “failures” of the TRS government.
Having brought the Congress to its knees with his ‘defection’ masterstroke, the battle-lines are now drawn between TRS and BJP. KCR’s latest decision is being viewed as a strategy to take on BJP directly and check its further growth in Telangana and thereby consolidate its position.
TRS ‘friendly party’ AIMIM is strongly opposing CAB. KCR does not wish to antagonise his political buddies in the State, which explains why he is opposed to CAB. Toeing the BJP line could adversely impact his Muslim vote-bank.