Politics makes strange bedfellows and for sure in Telangana, the youngest state in the country. Sworn enemies, the Congress and the Telugu Desam Party (TDP)are secretly talking to come together, along with few other smaller parties, and form a rainbow coalition to take on Telangana Chief Minister K Chandrashekhara Rao also popularly called KCR.
Telangana CM and Telangana Rashtra Samiti (TRS) chief Chandrashekhara Rao’s call for early elections, nine months ahead of scheduled date - May 2019 along with Lok Sabha general elections, has only accelerated the pace of “peace talks among enemies” – the near extinct Congress (in terms of numbers in assemblies and Parliament) and the also ran in TDP.
If KCR’s penchant for early polls to prevent these two enemies from getting together was an open secret, so are the talks between the TDP leaders and that of the Congress in the new state to come to an understanding, if not an electoral alliance, to defeat “an ineffective and pompous” Chief Minister.
Clearly, the erstwhile united state of Andhra Pradesh has become the theatre of political realignments with the fledgling Bhartiya Janata Party, buoyed by its standing and muscle as the ruling party at the Centre, making a play for a piece of action in the two states.
For the present, the focus is on Telangana, where the TDP as also the Congress leaders on the ground admit that talks are going on and they are hopeful of stitching up a coalition of like-minded forces to oust the KCR and Sons from Telangana.
Sources in the Congress and the TDP admit that talks were on for the past several days for an understanding as also to rope in the Left, the Bahujan Samaj Party and other smaller regional parties to pose a serious challenge to KCR in the state.
On Friday, Telangana TDP leaders were conferring with AP Chief Minister and Andhra Pradesh chief minister N Chandrababu Naidu to persuade him to come to an understanding with the Congress as in Telangana the party had considerably weakened in the wake of systematic poaching by KCR. Naidu has called for a formal meeting with party colleagues on Sunday to discuss the issue of having a truck with the Congress in the Telangana assembly polls.
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The Congress is still having a 25 per cent vote share in Telangana and can take on KCR if its hands are strengthened. Sadly, the Congress is a house very badly divided with factional leaders warring with one another.
Recently, Rahul Gandhi visited Hyderabad where he drew a very good response. He pleaded with the party men to bury their hatchets and work collectively for victory. But, this is something very easier said than done as the rivalries date back to decades and the waring leaders in Congress prefer to kiss the enemy rather than shake hands with own party colleagues.
A senior Congress leader from Telangana told NewsNation, “We are fully prepared for the polls and fight on our own. But we are also open for any alliances with like-minded political parties. Other than TRS and BJP, the Congress is not averse to shaking hands with anyone else to save the state from KCR and his family.”
The Congress leader was convinced that KCR was a bit wary of the Congress as it was reviving itself with the arrival of some leaders who had drifted away from the party earlier. Couple of influential party leaders, who were poached by KCR could return to the Congress fold before the elections.
In fact, one of the reasons that goaded KCR to go in for early elections is to reduce preparation time for the Congress and other opposition parties. More important, analysts say, is that his graph was coming down and few more months in the government could have added to the anti-incumbency factor.
Similar sentiments were expressed by TDP Telangana leaders, ahead of their meeting with party chief Naidu and which is why this unit is in favour of a tie up with the Congress.
In Andhra Pradesh, interestingly, TDP’s main rival is the Congress, though YSR Congress party leader YS Jaganmohan Reddy is snapping at the heels of Naidu.
The TDP was born to fight the Congress and it grew up on the strength of its anti-Congressism and would find it tough to convince the people if it came together now. So, when Naidu takes a call on an alliance or an understanding with the Congress in Telangana, he has to take all these factors into account. But practical compulsions for both the parties could make them forget the past and kiss and make up to beat the common enemy – KCR - and dislodge him.