Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) working president KT Rama Rao's meeting with Yuvajana Sramika Rythu Congress (YSRC) president YS Jaganmohan Reddy on Wednesday was the first time that leaders of these two parties have met. It could spell trouble during election season for Andhra Pradesh chief minister and Telugu Desam Party (TDP) chief N Chandrababu Naidu.
KT Rama Rao (or KTR) is the son of Telangana chief minister and TRS supremo K Chandrasekhar Rao and was chosen, along with a few other senior leaders, to represent him in this meeting. Clearly, the need for a federal front that does not include either the BJP or the Congress is on the forefront of KCR's political ambitions ahead of the 2019 Lok Sabha elections. Yet the two big national players are not the only ones whom KCR seeks to dismantle with his "third" front.
In his nearly 50-year long political career, this is the first time that KCR has extended a hand of friendship towards a political party operating chiefly in Andhra Pradesh, reported DNA. He had, before this, shown little or no interest in the state since it was divided to form Telangana.
His sudden focus on Andhra Pradesh is primarily thanks to the fact that in Jaganmohan Reddy, KCR finds an ally with a common enemy, N Chandrababu Naidu.
This significant phone call made by KTR to Reddy on Tuesday, which led to a showcase of bonhomie at Reddy's Lotus Pond residence on Wednesday, could thus spell trouble for Naidu, especially in an environment where speculations are rife that the Andhra Pradesh chief minister is not too keen on tying up with the Congress once again.
The last time KCR and Naidu went head to head, KCR emerged resoundingly victorious as the TRS swept the 119-seat Telangana Assembly with 88 seats in December. But in the campaigns that led to the Assembly elections, Naidu and his poll ally, Congress chief Rahul Gandhi, were unsparing of KCR in a way that seems to have deeply influenced KCR's future political plans, says DNA. After his December victory, KCR even announced that he would "return the gift" to Naidu, and has even called Rahul a "buffoon."
A TRS leader, reported Hindustan Times, said KCR would like nothing more than "to decimate" the TDP in Andhra Pradesh, in a repeat of his feat in Telangana, which reduced the TDP to two seats from 12 in the Assembly.
As for Jaganmohan Reddy, whose sole focus has been to assert that the TDP government has been a failure for Andhra Pradesh, the removal of Naidu is a welcome prospect. Reddy, on Wednesday, said he was ready to support anyone willing to grant Andhra Pradesh special category status. "KCR and his daughter MP Kavitha have also spoken in favour of Special Category Status for Andhra Pradesh," Jagan told NDTV.
As the KCR versus Naidu battle heats up, both leaders can be credited with probing alliance options exhaustively. While KCR has met West Bengal chief minister and Trinamool Congress chief Mamata Banerjee, Odisha chief minister and Biju Janata Dal supremo Naveen Patnaik, Janata Dal (United) leader and former prime minister HD Deve Gowda, former Uttar Pradesh chief minister Akhilesh Yadav and DMK leader MK Stalin, Naidu has met Rahul, National Congress Party's Sharad Pawar and Bahujan Samaj Party chief Mayawati to forge his own alliance, since he quit the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance in March 2018.
Updated Date: Jan 17, 2019 17:25:24 IST