KCR Disrupts Telugu States Politics Once Again

HYDERABAD: The launch of the Bharatiya Rashtra Samiti (BRS), a national party, the successor to the regional TRS, (which will now be erased and replaced as a brand), is a disruptive step, with big upside lunar gains and high risk politically as an inconvenience but, whatever the subsequent outcomes, it is one of the most black swan events in Indian politics.

This is a product of a leader’s visionary who has now ensured that he will be recorded in Indian political history as one of its most enigmatic risk takers, someone who can think more tangentially than anyone in politics before him.

An immediate consequence is that Andhra Pradesh now has three regional parties battling for power – the ruling YSRC, the main opposition Telugu Desam and the young Jana Sena – while in Telangana there are now three national parties vying for public validation: Congress, BJP and BRS. The two main national parties struggle to gain a foothold in the PA, while regional and smaller “starter parties” have no influence or importance in Telangana.

“It is difficult to predict all the consequences and outcomes of what will happen with the launch of the BRS as it is a black swan event in Indian politics. of two decades when Mr. KCR started the TRS and an agitation for a separate state,” a TRS leader said.

Another leader, speaking of the anxieties and apprehensions within the party, joked: “The strongest attraction of our party was the Telangana sentiment, our name. By renouncing it, we embark on an unknown journey, without a map. There is undeniably an element of risk in the business.

Most TRS leaders hope the continuity of the symbol and color will reduce the risk of a move within the state.

BRS’s move has not drawn too much reaction from neighboring Andhra Pradesh, but parties will be following the actual moves of the pink party with keen interest. Rao, a former leader of the TD before creating the TRS, has deep ties to the yellow party and could begin to strategically poach its top leaders.

Chandrashekar Rao’s approach to the BRS is as radically different from Arvind Kejriwal’s approach to the expansion of his party, the Aam Aadmi Party, as the two leaders are different. Both are risk takers, and both are cautious; but their propensities for caution and risk, as well as other facets of personality, are very diverse, despite several similarities.

Interestingly, both Kejriwal and Chandrashekar Rao see a huge vacuum in national politics due to the growing weakening of Congress and the loss of election after election, giving the BJP a virtual absence in many election battles.

But while Kejriwal, after his disastrous stint in extreme adventure – stepping down as CM, directly challenging Narendra Modi in Varanasi Lok Sabha in 2014 – has moved towards a Rahul Dravidesque approach to gaining a state here and a foothold in another over there.

The experiences being different, Rao wants to exploit the economic and social differences between the south and the rest of India, wants to propose the “Telangana” model, based on more than eight years of governance, and the results, particularly in the irrigation and agriculture, in addition to some social protection programs, as a basis for dealing with the country’s deep agrarian crisis.

For now, neither Rao nor Kejriwal wants to be part of a front against the BJP led by Narendra Modi; whereas several other top national leaders, including Nitish Kumar, Sharad Pawar and Uddhav Thackeray, MP Stalin, Mamata Banerjee and Akhilesh Yadav, among others, believe in some sort of front, with minor differences on the role of Congress in such a composition .

The other crucial difference between the two mercurial chief ministers is that while Kejriwal is chipping away at the Congress vote bank – with early polls predicting a big BJP victory in Gujarat and Himachal due to the incursion of the AAP – BRS wants to take on the BJP and cut into its vote bank, especially among farmers.

Interestingly, the two national parties underwent a similar exercise but for very different reasons. The BJP itself was the Jana Sangh; therefore, a name change as a precursor to a successful entry into national politics cannot be ruled out.

The biggest concern at the state level is whether the BRS will distract the party, and its Telangana configuration, from crucial attention in Assembly elections in just over a year, with reports alleging an increase in opposition to power.

Again, none of the great regional satraps has to face a state election before the Lok Sabha ballot – the national test of Nitish Kumar, Mamata Banerjee, Stalin, Kejriwal or Thackeray is after the national exam; but Rao faces Assembly polls ahead of Lok Sabha elections.

And the Munugode by-election, where the TRS could conduct its last elections in this avatar, could indicate things to come. In any case, the Rao-led BRS has once again shaken up Telugu states politics, and holds within its potential, to have a big impact on national politics.

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