Telangana chief minister K Chandrasekhar Rao (KCR) has met Prime Minister Narendra Modi twice in over a month — the second meeting was in New Delhi on Saturday — in what is being seen as a sign that the Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) is moving closer to the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and might even join the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) in a post-Lok Sabha polls scenario.
The BJP has been looking for the TRS’s support since parting ways in March with the Telugu Desam Party from neighbouring Andhra Pradesh. The TRS has 14 Lok Sabha members.
“The submission of memoranda on various issues is obviously just a formality. The actual agenda of the meeting was to work out the new political equations within the NDA in the wake of the ongoing attempt of the opposition parties to team up against the BJP,” a TRS leader said on the condition of anonymity.
The leader was referring to a list of demands KCR’s office cited in a communique about the issues he raised when he met Modi. Almost all the issues — including the demand for a separate high court for Telangana and allotment of defence land for secretariat construction — were also on the earlier list submitted to Modi on June 15.
“Both the leaders discussed the political situation in the country in general and the Telugu states in particular,” said the TRS leader quoted above, adding that KCR also discussed with the prime minister the probability of holding early Lok Sabha and Telangana assembly elections.
KCR could not be reached for comments. TRS MP B Vinod declined to comment on what transpired in KCR’s latest meeting with Modi. “In any case, it is too early to speculate on the post-poll scenario and the stand TRS will take,” he said, when asked about a post-poll scenario.
But KCR’s son, KT Rama Rao, who is a minister in Telangana, dismissed speculation about a possible post-poll arrangement as “fiction” in a Twitter post. The BJP’s Telangana unit said KCR’s overtures to Modi were part of his strategy to create confusion among their ranks.
“By claiming proximity to Modi and the central ministers, KCR wants to create an impression among the people that the BJP is not his rival in Telangana and the fight is only between the TRS and the Congress. But, as far as we are concerned, TRS is our number one enemy in Telangana,” BJP spokesman Krishna Sagar Rao said.
But the local Congress unit said it was a sign that KCR would ultimately join hands with the BJP. “There is no surprise in KCR meeting Modi so frequently. We have been saying right from the beginning of the TRS regime in 2014 that it is cosying up to the BJP, as was evident from the support it extended to the saffron party in the election of president and vice president and its neutral stand in the recent no-confidence motion,” Congress’s Telangana chief N Uttam Kumar Reddy said.
Political analyst K Nageshwar said the reason for the TRS getting closer to the BJP was that it is fighting against the Congress in Telangana and the BJP was no big force. “It is a win-win situation for both the TRS and the BJP because the Congress is their common enemy. However, the TRS might not join the BJP camp before polls because they will lose minority votes as well as that of Andhra settlers in Telangana,” Nageshwar said.