While the media and the voters are focused on the current NDA government and the opposition Congress led UPA party, there is a third front which is quietly making its move. This front is being led by Telangana chief minister K Chandrasekhar Rao (KCR), who is mobilizing the regional parties and is slowly gaining ground in furtherance to his aim to form a non-BJP and non-Congress federal front post the general election results.
In the last five years, KCR has emerged as one of the most prominent regional leaders independent of any national party affiliation. He has always been the one to take risks, observing the situation prevalent in the country and changing his affiliations accordingly. From floating his own party, Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) to forming the state of Telangana, he has come a long way. Back in 2009, being affiliated to NDA, he had won just 2 seats in the Lok Sabha. Thereupon, after the death of the congress AP CM Y. S. Rajasekhara Reddy, KCR seized the opportunity and demanded the state of Telagana, something which had been promised by the UPA government; and due to his insistence and influence, the formation of the state was successfully announced by the home minister P Chidambaram. It is pertinent to note that KCR has never lost any election, be it State Assembly or the Parliament in the last 34 years.
After 4 years of sheer hard work, he became Telangana’s first CM. Ideologically, he has been a devout Hindu and has shared good relations with BJP, but has been very liberal in his views on minorities, especially Muslims. Strong performance of KCR in Telangana has propelled his stature in comparison to any other leader in the south, unlike his peers such as Chandrababu Naidu.
Riding on this popularity, KCR is now attempting to gain substantial importance at the central level by mobilizing a third front. He has been hyper-active in stitching up what might be termed as ‘sleeper alliance’ through meeting various leaders and political parties. According to a TRC leader, “KCR is confident that neither Congress nor BJP will get a majority on their own. His effort is to make leaders of regional parties understand that they can themselves dictate who will rule the country instead of playing second fiddle to the national parties.” Interestingly, KCR’s main targets have been the Congress’ regional allies.
KCR has been mobilizing the left parties to join his federal front. In this regard, he met the Kerala CPI(M) CM Pinarayi Vijayan, in Trivandrum to discuss the Federal Front and sought the support of left parties who himself told the media that the meeting was significant. Soon after, he received a call from the Karnataka chief minister H.D. Kumaraswamy. HDK has formed the government in Karnataka with Congress’ support after the parties contesting failed to achieve a majority in the state. According to the statement of the chief minister’s office, “Karnataka chief minister H.D. Kumaraswamy on knowing about CM KCR’s visit to Kerala and Tamil Nadu had a telephonic talk with KCR.”
Now, KCR’s latest move has been to rope in DMK chief Stalin. DMK is a part of UPA and Stalin in fact had personally suggested Rahul Gandhi’s name as the PM candidate from UPA. Due to this alliance, knowing KCR’s agenda, Stalin had been earlier quite hesitant to meet with him. But that situation changed today as the two leaders met in Chennai. KCR has been vying hard for Stalin’s support as this is their 2nd meeting regarding his politically ambitious project. The first one had been last year. KCR’s job today is only to convince Stalin to keep his options open. TRS leaders however say that they are confident that leaders like Stalin will agree with such a coalition if the political scenario dictates so, which, according to them, will dictate so.
Moreover, his rapprochement with YSR Congress has been ongoing for the last few months. In this regard, he has received complete support from the opposition of Chandrababu Naidu, KCR’s rival. The Congress estranged Jagan Mohan Reddy has joined hands with TRS and is backing his proposed federal front.
K Chandrasekhar Rao is assuming that neither the BJP nor the Congress will have a full majority and that’s when the regional party’s leverage comes in. Therefore, he is trying to promote a non-BJP, non-Congress front because according to him, the regional parties will be able to get around 140-150 seats. If he succeeds in his attempts to unite everyone, the ambitious KCR will hold leverage in formation of the government after the results are declared, 10 days from now. How fruitful these political maneuverings would be, remains to be seen but as of now, the federal front has certainly brought KCR at the centre of the ‘sleeper alliance’.