Dr. Duggaraju Srinivasa Rao
K. Chandrasekhara Rao (KCR), the Chief Minister of Telangana, used the 21st foundation day of his party (TRS), to declare himself as the challenger to Prime Minister Narendra Modi. KCR used choicest words at BJP and Modi and labelled them as “the destroyers of the nationhood and the champions of divisive politics”. Those are very strong words, coming from a leader of a state with only17 Lok Sabha seats who never won all the seats even at height of his popularity. The irony being a leader with limited strength claiming to be the new challenger. KCR in his hurry to project himself as the real fighter to take on Modi without assessing his own position among the opposition parties.
In 2019 Lok Sabha elections he could win only 9 seats. Subsequent to that BJP made impressive gains in the by-elections held to the state assembly and the Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation. The popularity of both TRS and KCR is not that good, as on today, because of many un-fulfilled promises and alleged family lead corruption. The current political ranting has to be seen in this context of doubts in his mind on his capacity to score hat-trick victory in the 2023 scheduled elections. The self-proclaimed political strategist KCR is forced to seek the professional strategist Prashant Kishore’s help at a very high price running into hundreds of crores.
Till recently the pet theme of KCR was non-BJP, non-Congress front. His idea of such a front has no takers. Both Sharad Pawar and M.K. Stalin emphasised the need of having Congress in the Front to defeat BJP. This lead KCR is to change the track with the current statement of “not interested in tents or fronts and care less who is going to be the Prime Minister”. This change of heart is a tactical retreat as KCR’s first task is to retain power in Telangana where the Congress is main opponent. Any concession towards the Congress at this stage will hurt his party’s chances in the assembly elections. His pro-Congress stance will be cashed by the resurgent BJP in the state. BJP’s central leadership has already declared Telangana as their next target in south India.
KCR’s tall claim of other parties approaching him to float a new party or a front in the name of Bharat Rashtra Samiti may enthuse his own party cadre but certainly the other regional leaders are not amused. Despite the unenthusiastic response from the parties KCR continues to make high pitched political statements to project himself “as the first author of alternative agenda for the nation” and gain some mileage at the time of ministry formation at the Centre as and when the BJP is dethroned.
The stumbling block for his projection as the kingpin of national politics of regional parties in Delhi is his untrustworthy track record. KCR is known to change his political stance very easily. Till the Andhra Pradesh reorganisation Act was cleared by the parliament KCR was all praise then UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi’s courage, conviction and commitment to the cause of his Telangana. The moment he landed in Hyderabad he ditched Congress and projected himself as the architect of Telangana creation and won power. After Narendra Modi came to power at Delhi, KCR was all praise to the administration of new Prime Minister. His statement of “taking bold decisions to take country forward in all fronts” was there on the record. But suddenly as BJP gained some foothold in Telangana KCR started blaming the Centre for all the ills of his state as well as the country.
It is a fact that Telangana which was created in 2014 as a financially supress state, thanks to the focus put on the city of Hyderabad by Chandrababu Naidu to the detrimental of the other areas of state, has now has debt burden of over 2.5 lakh crores. People of Telangana are taking about the promised gains on the creation of the state and all the gains accrued to the ruling family. KCR is the CM of the state, his son KCR is the minister in the cabinet as well as working president of TRS, and his daughter Kavita is now an MLC waiting in the wings to be the minister. KCR’s nephew Harish Rao is also a cabinet minister. Many of KCR’s relatives have gained financially as realtors and other investors. TRS is run as a private limited company with family members as the directors. The party now hold properties and cash worth 1000 crores. KCR’s huge farm house and other properties of his coterie are reportedly under scanner of the central investigating agencies. The Congress and BJP leaders say that KCR’s game is over and threaten him with ‘jail’ life for his corrupt deeds.
This is the backdrop of the KCR’s massive show of strength in the last week of April. His clever politics, KCR hopes, will give twin advantages. If he wins this round of elections in Telangana it assure him a national role and he can anoint his son KTR as the CM. If he loses and gets ED notice or CBI knock he can play a victim card to raise the sentiment with the Telangana voters.
As of now KCR announced a very big plans of holding meetings with economists and intellectuals at Hyderabad, a lengthy conclave stretching over a fortnight. The invitees included even foreign economist. His other idea is to hold a meet of over 2000 retired central services officers to generate new ideas of administration. KCR wish to evolve through these interactions a new, alternative agricultural, industrial and economic policies. Thus he want to be a new messiah of India as the nation celebrates Azadi ka amrutosav. KCR and his immediate admirers are all dressed up for the occasion but is there any followers outside the Telangana borders is the question.
(Author is retired professor and occasional contributor for dailies and magazines. The views expressed are personal opinion of the author. He can be reached at [email protected])