TRS in a catch-22 situation on no-confidence motion even as KCR calls for Third Front to fight Narendra Modi

Despite KCR's talk of forming a non-Congress, non-BJP Third Front, the TRS is caught in a catch-22 situation on the question of supporting the no-confidence motion. TRS parliamentary party leader and secretary general K Keshava Rao is reported to have said that though his party supports the demand for special category status (SCS) for Andhra Pradesh, no trust move is just a political gimmick. "Can they muster 50 percent of the House to win the motion?" the TRS leader asked.

File image of K Chandrasekar Rao. AFP

File image of K Chandrasekar Rao. AFP

A senior leader of TRS close to KCR told Firstpost that the party would take an appropriate decision at an appropriate time. However, he hoped that the motion would not come before the House as it may not be in order. Admitting that the TRS faces a dilemma, the senior TRS leader said that the party cannot support anything that would give advantage to TDP in national politics at a time when it is contemplating to lead the Third Front. However, the party cannot remain isolated when the entire opposition stand united in opposing the Narendra Modi regime as the TRS also took an anti-BJP stand, he said.

Meanwhile, speaking to Firstpost, K Keshava Rao said that party is yet to take a decision on the issue disputing media reports that quoted him saying that TRS will oppose no-confidence motion.

However, TRS leader in Lok Sabha, Jitender Reddy said that his party is committed to supporting the demands of Andhra Pradesh regarding the implementation of State Reorganisation Act as it would also benefit Telangana.

"We would continue to voice our demands in Parliament and would go to the well of the House to express our concerns," Reddy said.

Political observers feel that this stand of TRS would only benefit NDA as Parliament cannot take up no-confidence motion when the House is not in order. When asked to comment on such interpretation, he said, "We are on our demands. It is up to the Speaker to take a call on the no-confidence motion. We are not concerned with it."

When most of the anti-BJP parties are converging to embarrass Modi government, the TRS fears that keeping itself away from such a mega opposition show of strength gives credence to the criticism that the pink party is a 'non-NDA' ally of the saffron brigade. The state-specific political reasons prompt TRS to be away from the TDP or YSR Congress-sponsored no-confidence motion. But, such duplicity would only expose the fallacy in TRS claims of the Third Front giving Chandrababu Naidu a lead.

The early supporters of KCR's Third Front idea, the Trinamool Congress and the Jharkhand Mukti Morcha attended the dinner hosted by Sonia Gandhi indicating the affinity of the non-BJP parties towards Congress. This stems out of the electoral arithmetic as the Congress still remains the main party in the non-BJP political spectrum rather than any special love for the grand old party. This is certainly unpalatable for TRS as the Congress is pitted against it in state politics. KCR cannot in any way favour a Congress-led or Congress associated front before 2019 elections as he has to face the same party in the Assembly polls.

The BJP is not a force to reckon with in Telangana politics. The saffron party is in any way not a threat to KCR. Instead, any surge in BJP vote would only benefit TRS as the anti-incumbency vote splits to the disadvantage of Congress. Thus, KCR cannot accept any anti-BJP political consolidation that favours Congress.

However, he does not wish to be seen as a BJP ally given the fact that Modi's popularity is sliding. The Telangana has 12 percent Muslim population and a sizable Christian vote, especially in Hyderabad. The state is vulnerable to communal polarisation and the minorities are certainly agitated over the aggressive brand of Hindutva politics promoted by Modi-Shah duo led BJP. Besides, voters of Seemandhra origin are in large number in the state capital. Their voting preferences significantly impact the mandate in many constituencies especially in and around Hyderabad. The Seemandhra electorate is deeply hurt by the manner in which Modi government dealt with the demands of the residuary state of Andhra Pradesh. KCR fears the loss of all these votes if the perception that he is closer to saffron party strengthens.

Thus, the TRS chief KCR is in a catch-22 situation. He cannot welcome any Modi political consolidation that has a potential to help Congress which is his principal political adversary. At the same time, he does not wish the TRS to be seen as BJP ally at a time the party has to face elections in a year or so. He cannot also remain away when all most all the anti-BJP forces converge and the no-confidence business is not confined to only Andhra politics.

In fact, the TRS was often seen as a non-NDA ally of BJP. KCR was the votary of Modi governments controversial policy measures like demonetisation, GST etc. Despite occasional anti-KCR statements by a section of state BJP leadership, the TRS supremo always enjoyed cordial relations with central BJP leaders, especially Modi. In fact, the TRS MP and KCR's daughter, K Kavitha earlier said that TRS is not averse to joining Modi ministry if there is an invitation to the party to that effect. On the eve of the elections, KCR certainly wants to shed the pro-BJP image.

Against these reservations towards both the Congress and the BJP, KCR called for a Third Front to bolster his party 's chances in the State rather than making or unmaking national political changes.

Meanwhile, Naidu who left the NDA is now galvanising anti-BJP parties into a common platform against Modi regime. Naidu due to his national political clout could be able to mobilise a large number of the non-BJP parties. At this point in time, any support for no-confidence motion would not serve KCR's purpose of leading the Third  Front. In fact, KCR wanted such a front on a common national agenda centred around agriculture, farmers' plight, fiscal federalism etc., reminds a TRS leader.

TRS cannot give Naidu an undue advantage to rally the forces that shall constitute the Third Front.

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Updated Date: Mar 17, 2018 23:06:05 IST

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