Hyderabad, March 4: The talk of a third alternative came from an unexpected quarter and that too on a day when BJP was celebrating its historic win in Tripura and the huge strides it made in the northeast.
Telangana Chief Minister K. Chandrasekhar Rao, who was hitherto considered as the best friend of Prime Minister Narendra Modi outside the NDA, floated the idea of an alternative to both BJP and Congress.
He did not attach any significance to the BJP’s victory in northeast and pointed out that different states had been throwing different poll results in recent months.
Terming the BJP and Congress as the two sides of the same coin, he said the two parties who had been in power for most of the 70 years since the country’s independence had failed to deliver. “Even after 70 years, many parts of India still don’t get drinking water,” he said.
The Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) President hoped that the alternative to bring qualitative change in the Indian politics will emerge soon. He was confident that such a coalition will contest the next elections and lead the country to a new direction.
KCR claimed that the talks to forge the alliance had already started and it would soon take some shape.
He said if necessary he would play an active role to bring the likeminded parties together. Claiming that people in their hearts want change, he said some tool to bring that change would be designed. He said this could be a front, an alliance, a coalition or a consortium.
Stating that the present political system had miserably failed, KCR said if tomorrow Congress replaces BJP, nothing will change except the names of the central schemes.
KCR was addressing media after the TRS parliamentary party meeting, which discussed the issues to be raised in the second leg of the budget session of Parliament beginning on Monday.
The TRS chief started with a counter attack on BJP, which has been targeting him for allegedly making derogatory remarks against Modi while addressing a meeting in Karimnagar. While Defence Minister Nirmala Seetharaman had claimed two days ago that KTR told her that it was a slip of tongue by his father, KCR said he did not insult Modi. “If BJP leaders want to insult the prime minister by using the words which I have not uttered, I can’t help,” he said.
Stating that he has all the respect for Modi, whom he described as his best friend, KCR started firing salvos on BJP for its failures. He said BJP had done no favour to Telangana and did not give even one rupee in excess of what it was bound to give to the state under the Constitution.
The TRS chief then suddenly jumped to the topic of the need for a qualitative change in the politics to take India on the path of a higher growth like China.
“The country has to move in new direction. People should think about it otherwise we will remain the same. How long we will hear stories of the progress in the US and China,” he asked.
“Qualitative change is not taking place in both the regimes. What has happened so far is unsatisfactory. Why there are naxalites in this country. Why there is so much unrest. Why there are social fights everywhere. Why Dalits and tribals are fighting,” he asked.
“I have nothing against Modi or BJP. I am against the slow progress of the country. The slow pace of progress is not digestible,” he said.
KCR made no bones of his ambition of a key role in national politics. He repeatedly said he is 64 and if the God blesses him and he remains healthy he would definitely like to serve the country for a few years.
“If I can be of some use to bring about the change and serve the country, I will definitely do it,” he said.
He also made it clear that he is ready to take the initiative for forging an alliance of the like-minded parties barring Congress and BJP. He is confident that once the process for change begins, it will spread like wildfire in the country.
“The leadership emerges from situation. For example, KCR emerged from the movement for Telangana state,” he said when a reporter asked who would be the leader of the proposed front.
Interestingly, he did not rule out truck with Telugu Desam Party (TDP). “I am not a foreteller,” he said when asked if TRS would accept the offer of TDP to join hands in 2019 elections.
TDP, a partner in NDA, is already thinking of parting ways due to BJP not fulfilling the commitments made to Andhra Pradesh at the time of bifurcation in 2014.
Political analysts feel if a third front takes shape, it could bring KCR and his bête noire Chandrababu Naidu together along with Pawan Kalyan and Kamal Haasan.
The Left parties, Aam Admi Party, Janata Dal (S) of Deve Gowda, Tirnamool Congress of Mamata Banerjee, Samajwadi Party, Biju Janta Dal, Rashtriya Janata Dal and other regional parties could join hands to offer an alternative to both BJP and Congress.
A shrewd politician he is, KCR seems to have already projected himself as a leader of such a front. He also made no bones of the prime ministerial ambition as some of his remarks suggest.