KCR might be considering aligning with the NDA during the LS polls for strategic reasons or political leverage. KCR’s relentless pounding of the Congress and BJP in the election rallies across Telangana indicate that he has bigger plans up his sleeve.

BRS supremo K Chandrashekar Rao is trying to make the best use of the adversity. He is making a conscientious effort to ensure a quick turnaround of the party’s fortunes.

His relentless pounding of Congress and BJP in the election rallies across Telangana indicates that he has bigger plans up his sleeve. His cryptic statement at the Khammam rally that if BRS nominee Nama Nageswara Rao is elected to Lok Sabha, he is sure to become a central minister.

KCR said it would become possible since a coalition government would take over after the elections. His comments have provided a fresh grist for the political mill.

‘BJP’s talk of 400-par seats a pipe dream’

KCR had said that the BJP would not win more than 200 seats and its tall talk of 400-par is merely a pipe dream. He said he had information that the next government would be a coalition dispensation, indicating that either the INDIA bloc or the NDA would come to power, in which he could play a part.

Interestingly, KCR is neither part of INDIA bloc nor the NDA and has been maintaining equidistance. He has been very critical of the Congress, which is part of INDIA bloc and the BJP, which leads the NDA.

It is clear that he was hinting at the possibility of the NDA needing support from other parties to form a government.

In such a case, if he were to win about 10-12 Lok Sabha seats in Telangana, which is again highly unlikely, he could call the shots in the new government. He could even make a Telangana MP a minister in the central government.

The other possibility is that he could join the INDIA bloc, which is unlikely, as KCR cannot be fighting the ruling party in Telangana and simultaneously be a part of the coalition headed by the same party at the national level.

The BRS particularly, KCR, has been trying to rise from the depths of despondency following defeat in the recent Assembly elections to win a maximum number of Lok Sabha seats.

He knows that the task is easier said than done, with the Congress juggernaut already making incursions into his last remaining bastions in the GHMC area and further consolidating its presence in territories in rural Telangana which it had won in the Assembly elections.

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KCR’s political campaign strategy

Knowing well that he alone would be able to turn the tide of the people’s opinion in favour of the BRS, KCR has hit the roads. Though the Telangana movement may seem long forgotten and is now a blur in memory, he is trying to make the people live through the zeitgeist once again.

The speeches he delivers during his election rallies centre around the hardship the people faced before the formation of Telangana and how those days have returned after the advent of the Congress government.

After losing the Assembly elections, KCR, addressed a huge public meeting in Nalgonda on 13 February, where he raised the issue of Krishna waters.

It was one of the issues inseparably intertwined with the Telangana movement prior to the formation of the Telangana state. KCR used to demand a rightful and legitimate share in Krishna waters for Telangana even in the undivided state of Andhra Pradesh.

At the Nalgonda meeting, KCR had charged the Revanth Reddy government with incompetence in protecting the rights of Telangana.

He had said Revanth Reddy had allowed the transfer of the control of the irrigation projects in Krishna River to the Krishna River Management Board (KRMB), unmindful of the fact that henceforth Telangana would have to stand before the panel with folded hands to seek even a few drops of water for drinking purposes.

Though the Revanth Government had denied doing it as was being alleged, the damage has already been done.

Again, on Monday, 29 April, KCR alleged at the Khammam election rally that Revanth Reddy was keeping quiet even when Narendra Modi was trying to divert the waters of the Godavari river to Karnataka and Tamil Nadu.

He had recalled how he had opposed the idea when the BJP had it spelled it out when he was the chief minister. He said that he had told the BJP that unless it decides the share of Telangana in Godavari waters, he would not allow even a drop to be taken away to Karnataka, no matter what.

Making Hyderabad a UT

A few days ago, former minister and BRS working President KT Rama Rao raised concerns about Hyderabad becoming a union territory.

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Addressing an election rally, he said that as the joint capital status of Hyderabad for both Andhra Pradesh and Telangana would end on 2 June, the Congress and the BJP were now trying to convert Hyderabad into a union territory.

Though it was a farfetched theory as 2 June is not very far and no tangible work has been done to this effect, he nonetheless appeared keen on stoking the fears and inflaming Telangana passions once again.

The theory may not hold up to scrutiny as the BJP also does not want to hurt the sentiments of the Telangana people by trying to convert Hyderabad into a union territory and lose its support.

BJP considers Telangana a fertile soil for it to grow and capture power in the next assembly elections in 2028. Further, there is no way that the Congress and the BJP would work together in this scheme.

Prior to the formation of Telangana state, the then UPA-II had considered conversion of Hyderabad into a UT since the people of Andhra origin might feel insecure in a separate Telangana state.

But the UPA-II had abandoned the proposal later and, instead, made a promise to accord special category status to Andhra Pradesh and develop the reorganised state into a vibrant economy.

In those days, Congress leader Jairam Ramesh had compared Hyderabad to a “dulhan” and said that Telangana should be happy with the dulhan and not bother about special category status promised to Andhra Pradesh.

Political resurgence 

Now KCR has been criss-crossing the entire Telangana state and is getting a huge response from the people, making one wonder whether the modern Pied Piper of Telangana has switched on his charm once again and is rallying the people behind him.

He is also a changed man now. He is not only fiery in delivery speeches castigating the BJP and the Congress, but also does not seem averse to interacting with the people.

He had several interactions with farmers in the recent past in his farmers’ outreach programmes and on Monday, he took everyone by surprise when he stopped his convoy in Khammam district and went inside a roadside eatery. He sat at a table and ate mirchi bajjis and pakora.

He sipped tea while chatting with people. When the word got around that KCR was sipping chai at a roadside eatery, a huge crowd gathered. KCR interacted with them with small talk, inquiring about their mundane problems and what their hopes and aspirations were.

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KCR’s election rallies give an indication that the people have not lost faith in the leadership and that the vote against the BRS was not a vote against KCR per se.

The party workers may have been a little flustered with the interminable exodus of the leaders from the BRS but the people seem to bet on KCR, though they may not be on the same page with some of the BRS leaders, mostly the erstwhile MLAs, who were their tormentors in the past.

The Machiavelli of the BRS has several weapons in his armoury now. Of late he has acquired a new weapon, the finesse in being active on social media platforms too.

He has opened an account on X and has, ever since, been posting messages, apparently with an intention to strike a chord with the millennials, who matter most in elections.

It remains to be seen if the quicksand of politics might throw up new opportunities to KCR at the national level in the event of neither the NDA nor the INDIA bloc securing a clear majority.

Election dynamics

Anything can happen in politics, like a sudden tide that lifts one’s boat or like a black swan that upsets one’s apple cart.

Political analyst and academician Ghanta Chakrapani said there was a perceptible change in the response to KCR’s election rallies, which probably made him hope to pick up about 10 Lok Sabha seats.

He said that already, the perception that BJP is going to win big in this election is changing gradually. That is why the BJP’s stance on several issues betrays their frustration.

“The party is trying to provoke Hindus into voting for it, like saying that if the INDIA bloc wins, they would take away mangal sutras of women. This betrays their nervousness,” he said.

“When it comes to Telangana, it’s quite possible that the BRS might surprise the pollsters. In several Lok Sabha constituencies, the Congress has fielded weak candidates, like in Malkajgiri, where P Sunitha is not known to anyone. Similarly, the Congress fielded weak candidates in constituencies including Medak, Mahabubnagar, and Chevella,” Chakrapani said.

“In other constituencies, the BRS might give a tough fight to the Congress,” he said, though the popular perception is that the battle is between the Congress and the BJP. #hydnews #khabarlive