Bharat Rashtra Samithi (BRS): There is a very fine line between confidence and arrogance despite the fact that the two are actually poles apart. To bolster their confidence, politicians often exaggerate the ground realities in their favours. In these moves depicting their false bravado, they often end up losing their initial belongings or posts. They forget that greed is an endless pit and there is no such thing as fast success. The same can be witnessed playing out in national politics where every politician is throwing their hat on the Prime Minister’s post.
Another regional party takes a National leap
On 5th of October, Telangana CM K Chandrashekar Rao launched the Bharat Rashtra Samithi (BRS) by officially making the necessary changes to the party’s nomenclature. This is a first step towards becoming a national party.
The decision came after the party’s state executive members and other elected representatives passed a resolution to merge Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) in the newly launched ‘national party’.
Reportedly, the party would convey the resolution to the Election Commission of India (ECI) and carry out the nitty gritty of the changes.
A day earlier to the announcement, TRS leaders distributed liquor and chicken to celebrate their leader’s bid to go national. However, these cheap gimmicks of the newly formed Bharat Rashtra Samithi (BRS) party failed to cause tremors in the political circles. Only two regional parties JDS and VCK were present at the announcement.
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Before the launch of the party, Telangana CM KCR met Janata Dal (Secular) leader and former Karnataka Chief Minister H D Kumaraswamy. Former Karnataka CM Kumaraswamy was accompanied by twenty legislatures of his party. TRS/BRS party Supremo KCR also met Tamil Nadu-based Viduthalai Chiruthaigal Katchi’s T. Thirumavalavan, a dalit leader.
In a bid to increase its footprints in other states, it is reported that Bharat Rashtra Samithi (BRS) has broken an alliance with JD(S). Reportedly both the parties, BRS and JD(S) have decided to jointly contest the upcoming assembly elections in Karnataka.
Requirement to become a ECI recognised National Party
A recognised political party enjoys privileges like a reserved party symbol, free broadcast time on state-run television and radio, consultation in the setting of election dates, and giving input in setting electoral rules and regulations.
As of now, there are eight officially recognised national parties in the country. These are namely – BJP, Congress, NCP, AITMC, BSP, CPI, CPI (M) and NPP.
Apart from them, other regional and state parties can contest elections anywhere but they may not get the same symbol to contest elections outside of their recognised area. In simple words, if the Samajwadi Party contests from Maharashtra, the Cycle election symbol is not a reserved symbol for the party outside UP.
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To become a national party, a party is required to fill either of these conditions.
- It needs to secure 6% of valid votes in any four or more states. In addition, it has to win four Lok Sabha seats.
- It needs to win 2% of seats in the Lok Sabha from at least three different states.
- The party gets recognition as a state party in four states.
As stated above eight parties fulfil these requirements but, in reality only two, namely BJP and Congress, have cadres in every nook and cranny of the country.
Political Journey of TRS
Telangana Rashtra Samithi was founded on 27th of April 2001 by K. Chandrashekar Rao. It had a single-point agenda to create a separate Telangana state with Hyderabad as its capital. The party received success very early on in its political journey. Within just a week of its formation, TRS won one-third of Mandal Parishad Territorial Constituencies (MPTC) and one-quarter of Zilla Parishad Territorial Constituencies (ZPTC) in Siddipet.
In the 2004 Andhra Pradesh Legislative Assembly election, TRS won 26 assembly seats and also won 5 parliament seats. It formed an alliance with the Indian National Congress and joined the United Progressive Alliance (UPA). Later, in September 2006, the party withdrew its support on the grounds that Congress was not fulfilling its electoral promise to create Telangana. In the by-election held in May 2008, TRS won 7 out of the 16 assembly segments and 2 out of the 4 Lok Sabha segments that it resigned. This was a huge embarrassment for the party.
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In 2009, it took a major U-turn and aligned with UPA’s rival alliance. It forged an alliance with TDP and joined the Bhartiya Janata Party-led National Democratic Alliance. However, it faced a major defeat that year as well. Out of 45 seats contested, TRS only won 10 assembly seats.
Right before the 2014 Lok Sabha election, UPA sensed its defeat and in a hasty manner bifurcated Andhra Pradesh. The ruckus in Parliament and controversies around the state bifurcation and politics over it never died down.
However, this bifurcation gave political life to TRS. After bifurcation of the erstwhile Andhra Pradesh and the creation of a separate Telangana state, TRS started getting political success. It won 63 out of 110 seats it contested in the 2014 Assembly elections in the newly formed Telangana. It formed a government with KCR taking charge of the government.
In September 2018, CM KCR dissolved the Legislative Assembly, the first after the formation of the state. The party received enormous success in the snap elections. It won 88 assembly seats out of 119 seats.
In 2019, its seats in Lok Sabha came down to 9 from 11 it had won during the 2014 Lok Sabha elections. In those times also, he had floated the idea of a federal front but it never clicked among political parties and voters.
Past incidences of his swelling National Ambitions
Telangana CM K Chandrashekhar Rao has been exhibiting his national ambitions for a very long time. He was indulging in confrontational politics with the Union government on several occasions. Each time, he increased the level of his bitterness against the Modi government and BJP.
On one such occasion, he lost his cool and gave a direct threat to BJP, the resurgent challenger in the state. He threatened BJP leaders that he would cut their tongues if they don’t refrain from using bad language to criticise him. Further, he once claimed that BJP should be uprooted and thrown into the Bay of Bengal.
Apart from these rhetorical and vitriolic statements, he was covering the length and breadth of the nation to unite the opposition against PM Modi and BJP.
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Earlier, in 2019 itself, he had indicated his ambition to play a key role in national politics.
He revealed his plans to launch a national party after the TRS plenary in April. Later, he started political tourism across the nation. Just like his predecessor Chandrababu Naidu, Telangana CM started his relentless campaign and gave an attempt to fulfil his swelling national ambitions.
In a bid to form a third front against BJP and Congress, he met several politicians across the political spectrum. These include top Opposition leaders like Jharkhand CM Hemant Soren, Jharkhand Mukti Morcha (JMM) President Shibu Soren, Tamil Nadu CM M K Stalin, residual-Shiv Sena President and ex-Maharashtra CM Uddhav Thackeray, West Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee, JD(S) Chief and ex-PM H D Deve Gowda, ex-Karnataka CM Kumaraswamy, RJD Chief Lalu Prasad, Bihar CM Nitish Kumar and Deputy CM Tejaswi Yadav and former Gujarat CM Shankersinh Vaghela.
Notably, the party seems to duplicate the route followed by TDP Chief Chandrababu Naidu. In his angst against his then alliance partner, BJP, he infused all his power and might towards the Lok Sabha election where it commanded least control.
In these ill-timed and ill-advised political manoeuvres, he shot his own foot and lost the state to the resurgent challenger, YSRCP. The same is happening now. BJP is marching strong in Telangana and state assembly elections are due next year. It seems that Telangana CM KCR too is heading towards the same fate.
TRS as a party should realise that it needs a complete makeover in order to even project itself as a national party. It rose to political prominence only through divisive politics of regionalism and linguistic chauvinism.
Without a national organisation, strong ideology and sufficient time to grow organically, its national dream will only end up to be mere a false paradise. It is not the first party to develop national ambitions and jump the political ladders all at once. Earlier, TDP Chief Chandrababu Naidu did the same and everyone knows what followed after that.
On top of that, if the newly formed Bharat Rashtra Samithi (BRS) wants to win elections through cheap political gimmicks like dolling out liquor or chicken, then it is in for a big surprise. It should understand that PM Modi checks all the boxes of deliverables while going into any major elections. These deliverables punctured the hefty promises of the NYAY scheme of the Congress party.
So, if the party really wants to be in the national game for big time, it should remember that Rome was not built overnight. In desperate measures to fulfil its greed, the party is heading to a major jolt in their home turf at the hands of a resurgent challenger in the saffron party, a thing that happened with state’s former CM Chandrababu Naidu.
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