Despite its advent as a guiding force for the people of Telangana in finding their ‘own state’, now the big question is Telangana Rastra Samiti (TRS) falls on the crossroads ahead of the third consecutive elections it is facing on the political landscape?  Will TRS unfold in the near future action plan and road map? Is it applying serious thought on its raison d’être?

Although TRS has been claiming that it is a time-tested political outfit that took birth for the noble cause of achieving a separate state for the people of Telangana region in the erstwhile undivided state of Andhra Pradesh, TRS has faced existential challenges at certain points of time, particularly during the regime of Dr. YS Rajasekhara Reddy one and half decades ago.
Since the party was formed this day (April 27) exactly 21 years ago at ‘Jaladrushyam’, it would be appropriate to revisit the various steps taken by the leadership of the party.

People got attracted to the new political outfit because of the peculiar words uttered by the TRS leadership on the very first day of its inception, stating that TRS was no more a political party and specified the point that it took birth only for fulfilling the long-cherished dream of T-people of having a new state. This gave room for some people to draw a parallel between these words and the historic words of Mahatma Gandhi that the role of Indian National Congress would be over upon achieving freedom for the country.  

TRS founder K. Chandrasekhar Rao started his political career with the Congress party and joined the Telugu Desam Party (TDP) under the leadership of NT Rama Rao and became MLA for the first time in March 1985, despite having been defeated in the 1983 elections from the Siddipet constituency.

At the time of unseating NTR at the behest of N. Chandrababu Naidu, KCR stood by the latter and remained a strong supporter of Naidu that fetched him a cabinet post. He was Transport Minister in Naidu’s cabinet till the elections of 1999.

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Naidu had to drop KCR in the post-election cabinet to accommodate K. Vijayarama Rao, former CBI director. This caused severe heartburn for KCR and finally he parted ways with the TDP by relinquishing the posts of Deputy Speaker of APLA, MLA and membership of TDP only to start Telangana Rashtra Samiti.

KCR later started describing the TDP chief as an enemy of Telangana. He succeeded in branding Naidu as an ‘anti-Telangana’ leader. KCR drew good response initially from the public by getting nearly one-third seats in Local Bodies’ polls just within three months of TRS’ inception. But in the larger interests of his future, KCR had electoral alliance with the Congress. The resultant coalition government of the Congress and TRS in undivided Andhra Pradesh ended within months due to mutual distrust.

The Congress government led by Dr. YS Rajasekhara Reddy, probably at the behest of Congress’ high command, preferred to disturb TRS that resulted in desertions from MLAs. Out of 26 MLAs of TRS, 16 members had shifted their loyalties to the Congress.

Provoked by Congress, KCR quit his Lok Sabha membership from Karimnagar in 2006. He emerged winner of the polls held on 4 December, 2006. But KCR wrongly moved further with more resignations from MLAs that ultimately reduced his strength in the Assembly.

This challenging period continued for him in the subsequent General Elections and the Assembly elections in 2009 that brought down the strength of TRS in the Assembly from 26 to 10. Further process of destabilizing TRS had been initiated by the YSR regime and one incident altered the fate of the undivided state. YSR died in a helicopter crash on 2 September, 2009. This incident brought ‘solace’ to TRS and no wonder KCR had no qualms in commenting: “The force that had been working as a stumbling block for Telangana had disappeared in Nallamala hillocks!”

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The Congress’ politics marked by desperate moves came in handy for KCR. Only to woo the Congress, KCR had placed a proposal before Congress president Sonia Gandhi that he would merge TRS with Congress should the latter announce the formation of a separate Telangana and ensured the passage of related bill in Parliament. After the Congress did its part, KCR backed out.

T-people considered KCR a hero of Telangana and attributed the ‘achievement’ to him.
KCR then returned the compliments to the Congress by repeating what the latter had done to him during its regime in the undivided state of AP. He crushed the Congress Legislature Party by stripping it of the status of principal opposition in the Telangana State Legislative Assembly. He rejected the idea of seat-sharing arrangement with TDP, which was proposed by Chandrababu Naidu himself. He worked to marginalize TDP in Telangana.

Now, TRS seems to be lacking confidence in registering a third consecutive win in the Assembly polls due next year due to anti-incumbency factor. The TRS might be in need of a helping hand in forming the government for the third time. The emergence of BJP as a strong force in T-politics is an additional factor. So, TRS is exploring all options to win the coming polls at any cost.

Strictly speaking, KCR might be in need of the support of a strong political force, considering his plans to play an enlarged role in national politics. It is clear that he is going to fight against BJP or Modi rule at the Centre.

In the electoral fray in Telangana, BJP will be the only one enemy for KCR, irrespective of his ties with the Congress.The Congress party has been losing its sheen day by day. Two successive and humiliating defeats faced in 2014 and 2018 have left the party in distress.

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Joining hands with the Congress, either before polls or after polls, appears to be necessary for TRS. Possible coronation of K. T. Rama Rao is not yet on the table, though KCR has strategically introduced his son KTR to both official and party circles as the person who would succeed him whenever the time comes.

BJP’s position in Telangana cannot be assessed easily as Modi’s influence may be more than expected if the present political situation is any indication!

Moreover, in south India, for the BJP, after Karnataka, Telangana will be the only desirable electoral battle ground. BJP had its roots in the Telangana region previously when the Bharatiya Jana Sangh (yesteryear avatar of BJP) had registered impressive wins during the elections of 1967. Former MP C. Janga Reddy, who died recently, was elected from the Parkal constituency in 1967.

It may be mentioned here that he won the Hanumakonda Lok Sabha seat with a huge margin by defeating former prime minister P.V. Narasimha Rao in the 1984 elections. Because of BJP’s track record, TRS has to move further with its wait and watch policy, considering its two humiliating defeats in the Dubbak and Huzurabad Assembly by-polls.

Election strategist Prasant Kishor is also causing more heat with regard to TRS’ course of action. As he has been working against the BJP regime, he is trying to strengthen the Congress’ hand to reach his goal. For this purpose, he is bringing anti-BJP forces on one platform.

As unseating Modi is the common goal for all like- minded forces, political parties are going by the ‘theory of adjustability’ among themselves by burying their hatchets! In this backdrop, it will very interesting thing to see whether the 21st birthday of ruling TRS will show the pink party a path ‘acceptable’ to itself! #KhabarLive #hydnews