On Sunday, Telangana Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao popularly known as KCR met his Odisha counterpart Naveen Patnaik and expressed a “dire need” for the unification of regional parties to provide an alternative to the Congress and the BJP ahead of the crucial 2019 Lok Sabha elections.
After the meeting with Patnaik, Telangana CM, as well as TRS Chief, said, “I can say certainly that there is a dire need for unification of regional parties in the country.” He also added, “We strongly believe that there has to be an alternative to Congress and BJP.”
Both CMs discussed national issues at great length, including the need for “better friendship among regional parties.” KCR said, “This is just the beginning of a dialogue… We will meet again and discuss how to take things forward.”
Rao added that on one hand, PM Modi accuses that TRS is the “B team” of the Congress while on the other hand, Congress President Rahul Gandhi claims that the TRS chief is the “B-Team” of the saffron party. He further added, “Let me tell you, we are our own team.”
The meeting between KCR and Patnaik is of great significance as far as 2019 general elections are concerned. KCR is still basking in the new found victory in the state against the Mahakutami or grand alliance led by the Congress with TDP, CPI and Telangana Jana Samithi (TJS). Both the leaders have many similarities: they are strong regional leaders, have no inclination towards Mahagathbandhan (grand alliance) and both have taken more or less ethical stands on issues related to national importance, contrary to the Mahagathbandhan. Interestingly, their views have been more or less in accordance with the central government’s line.
This apparent coming together of these allies is a huge setback to the ambitions of Mahagathbandhan as both these leaders have a strong presence in their respective states. KCR’s landslide victory in the recently concluded Telangana assembly elections is suggestive of his impact in the state. Also, BJD’s spectacular performance in Odisha in 2014 Lok Sabha elections gives a sense of Patnaik’s leadership.
After achieving gigantic victory in the Telangana state assembly elections, KCR has commenced a journey to bring together anti-Congress and anti-BJP parties on the same podium (federal front) for the 2019 general elections. He is all set to meet another strong regional leader- West Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee. In the past, Mamata Banerjee along with KCR had pitched the idea of a federal front to take on the BJP, without the Congress at the helm of affairs. The fact that Mamata Banerjee has strong ambitions to become Prime Minister is not hidden from anyone. Mamata Banerjee has tried to sideline Rahul Gandhi given his weak leadership and organisational skills. The Congress has time and again voiced its concerns about this and has made it clear that it will not accept any outsider as the leader and wants Rahul Gandhi to lead the much-hyped united opposition front.
After visiting Kalimata Temple in Kolkata, KCR is set to leave for New Delhi in the night. He will hold meetings with former Uttar Pradesh Chief Ministers Mayawati and Akhilesh Yadav.
Telangana CM K. C Rao after meeting with West Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee: Our dialogue will continue, very shortly we will come out with a concrete plan. We are discussing things. I will continue with my efforts. pic.twitter.com/cXgl84rmyz
— ANI (@ANI) December 24, 2018
A 3-way fight has conventionally helped the BJP. BJP has won almost every election where there were 3 or more fronts involved. For instance, BJP clean swept Haryana where it was up against Congress and INLD, Maharashtra where it was up against NCP and Congress, Uttar Pradesh where it was up against SP+Cong and BSP and even Jammu and Kashmir where it was pitted against NCP-Congress and the PDP. And now that it is becoming increasingly clear that a major non-aligned 3rd front is on its way, it’s advantage BJP. The three prominent faces of the bloc are perceived as liberal and secular faces and they can cut heavily into the Muslim vote share of the Congress-led Mahagathbandhan.