Who will take lead in forming alternate front, KCR or Naidu?

Narendra Modi KCR and Chandrababu Naidu

Hyderabad, March 18: The two Telugu states are in for another competition. This time the two chief ministers will be vying with each other.

Who will take the initiative in floating a new national-level front. Telangana Chief Minister K. Chandrasekhar Rao or his Andhra Pradesh counterpart N. Chandrababu Naidu.

Days before Naidu’s Telugu Desam Party (TDP) exited the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) over alleged injustice to Andhra Pradesh, the Telangana chief minister floated the idea of a front as an alternative to both BJP and Congress.

Stating that both the national parties miserably failed despite ruling for almost the entire post-Independence period of 70 years, the Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) chief underlined the need for forming a front to address the real issues of people and take India on the path of fast economic growth.

KCR offered to lead the front, saying he would be happy to serve the country for a few years. A day after floating the idea, the TRS chief claimed that he received the support of Tirnamool Congress leader and West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee. He also claimed to have received the backing of some MPs from Maharashtra but did not reveal their political allegiance.

KCR’s idea also received the support from actor politician Pawan Kalyan, whose Jana Sena party plans to contest the next year’s elections in both the Telugu states.

A day later, the Telangana CM said he would prepare a national agenda of the proposed front in consultation with various sections of people. He said the Constitution should be amended to ensure real cooperative federalism and facilitate speedy growth.

KCR also declared that he would meet retired bureaucrats, leaders of farmers’ associations and other eminent people from various walks of life to evolve the national agenda. For these consultations, he plans to visit some selected cities.

Even before KCR could speak more about what he plans to do, the focus shifted to TDP with its dramatic moves – first pulling out both its ministers from the NDA government and later snapping the ties with the ruling coalition.

Chandrababu Naidu even announced that the TDP will move a no-confidence motion against Narendra Modi government for not fulfilling the commitments made to Andhra Pradesh at the time of the state’s bifurcation in 2014. This was mainly to counter no-trust motion sought to be moved by rival YSR Congress party in Lok Sabha.

Naidu not only severed all ties with NDA but adopted unusual approach to slam Modi for not keeping his promises made to the state during 2014 elections.

The TDP chief decided to write to leaders of all NDA partners explaining them the reasons for his party joining the alliance in 2014 and for pulling out of the coalition.

He also declared that he will approach non-NDA parties too to seek their support for no-confidence motion.

While Naidu’s move may not pose a challenge to NDA as it still enjoys comfortable majority in Lok Sabha, it definitely sent shockwaves in BJP. It triggered talks of Naidu floating a front of non-BJP and non-Congress parties.

TDP leaders claimed that many parties are expressing solidarity with the cause of Andhra Pradesh and predicted a major political change in the country.

Unlike KCR, Naidu has the experience of heading national level front. As convenor of United Front, he had close ties with leaders of several regional parties.

The TDP leader is expected to use his rapport with the regional players to cobble together a new front.

It remains to be seen how KCR reacts to the latest development and what will be his strategy to rope in as many parties as possible.

Both KCR and Naidu will face the dilemma while forging an alliance. KCR may not face a dilemma in leading the front as YSR Congress party and Jana Sena have no big presence in Telangana. He is also expected to have an understanding with TDP.

For Naidu it will be tough to bring together his rivals YSR Congress and Jana Sena in the alliance.  He had not faced this situation during his United Front days as TDP’s only rival that time was Congress.

KCR’s idea of an alternate front and Naidu’s move to exit NDA have given a new lease of life to the opposition. This may lead to emergence of a new front before the next year’s elections.

It’s still not clear who will be more acceptable as leader of an alternate front – KCR or Naidu. However, it is certain that the process for a new political realignment in the country will begin from Telugu states

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