Has Mamata snatched initiative from KCR?

Hyderabad, April 1: TRS chief K. Chandrasekhar Rao’s plans to float a front as an alternative to both BJP and Congress appears to have hit the roadblock with leaders like Trinamool Congress leader Mamata Banerjee favouring anti-BJP front with Congress as one of the constituents.

West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata was the first key leader to extend support to KCR’s plan to cobble together a front as the third alternative to bring qualitative change in the Indian politics. The Telangana Chief Minister was so impressed with her support that he visited Kolkata this month to meet her and discuss the ideas.

However, the subsequent developments have not been encouraging for the TRS chief. While KCR was keen to anchor the front and had even offered to lead it, the Trinamool Congress chief appears to have snatched the initiative.

She met United Progressive Alliance (UPA) Chairperson Sonia Gandhi and made it clear that the Congress was a must for any one-on-one fight with the BJP. She said Congress could not be excluded from any anti-BJP alliance in the Lok Sabha elections 2019.

Banerjee also met Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal and received the backing of BJP rebels Yashwant Sinha, Arun Shourie, and Shatrughan Sinha.

In what could be a setback for KCR’s plans, Banerjee’s proposed federal front seems to be taking shape. Banerjee camped in New Delhi for two days last week to make efforts to forge a broad coalition of political forces for a one-on-one fight with the BJP.

“We want a strong political party in any region to take on the BJP one-on-one, so that it is ousted,” she said while hoping that Congress will win upcoming assembly elections in Karnataka.

She also remarked that parties that are dominant in states will take the lead in putting up a one-on-one fight against the BJP.

She pitches for Lalu Prasad Yadav and Congress in Bihar, Akhilesh Yadav and Mayawati in Uttar Pradesh. She did not name either TRS or TDP, the ruling parties of Telangana and Andhra Pradesh respectively. Both the parties want to keep equi distance from BJP and Congress.

KCR has already gone on record that BJP and Congress were equally responsible for the problems faced by the nation as they had ruled the country almost the entire period since the independence.

While Chandrababu Naidu has pulled out of BJP-led NDA, there is no change in his stand that Congress remained his key political enemy. Since the very formation of TDP was to end the Congress rule in then united Andhra Pradesh, there is no possibility of TDP joining a front which will have Congress.

Similarly, since Congress remained the principal opposition party in Telangana, there is no way KCR can agree to join hands with that party.

The developments indicate that Mamata Banerjee’s plans will succeed as several parties like Nationalist Congress Party (NCP), DMK and even Aam Admi Party (AAP) may agree to join her front.

The TMC chief reported to have conveyed to KCR during the meeting in Kolkata that the current situation in the country warrants a united front against the BJP. She also opined that Congress can’t be left out of such a front to drive BJP out of power in 2019. It was due to these differences that the two leaders did not make any announcement after their meeting but told reporters that there is need for more consultation over the proposed front.

If Mamata succeeds in roping in more regional parties in her front, this may put both TRS and TDP in a spot. KCR may not find many takers for his front.

The TRS chief already appeared to have slowed down on his earlier plans. He had earlier announced that he will hold consultations with former bureaucrats, NGOs and other groups and individuals to chalk out national agenda. He proposed to hold these meetings in different parts of the country.

With Mamata appears to have snatching initiative from him, KCR will have to redraw his strategy to fulfil his aspiration to play a role in the national politics.

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