TRS hopes to play a role in case of hung Lok Sabha

(Sudhansu R Das)

With growing feeling after five rounds of polling that Center will have a coalition Government, regional players have started exploring the prospects of new alliances that may be built after announcement of results of poll for Lok Sabha on May 23, 2019. The first one to take the lead is K. Chandrashekhar Rao, Chief Minister of Telengana who called on regional leaders in States of Tamilnadu and Karnataka.

The political leaders in Telangana are no longer making a beeline before their favorite gods in temples after the Lok Sabha poll. There is no rush to the houses of astrologers and mega Yagnas in the temples are over. The leaders are now looking at their new God – the prospective Government at the centre.

The speculation is rife that the Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS), the regional party in power in Telangana will support NDA in the centre if it succeeds in government formation. There could be a possible u-turn from the pre-poll stance of TRS to form a non-Congress and non-BJP Federal Front. The party sources have reportedly said the support will be from outside to form the government at the centre. With 100 out of 110 MLAs, TRS is in a very strong position in the state to take a political risk in supporting centrist parties in government formation.

TRS supremo, K Chandrashekar Rao is apt in making political risk analysis as he knows very well the cost of living away from the government at the centre. Over the years the champion of the Telangana movement has emerged as the single political voice in the state. The Telugu Desam Party has become extinct in Telangana as it had not fought the parliamentary election in the state and has decided to remain away from the coming Local Body Elections. Besides, 11 Congress MLAs have already joined TRS and the Congress leaders fear a possible merger of Congress with TRS.

Telangana has witnessed an average 62.69% voting in the 17 Lok Sabha constituencies. A little above 37 % of people, the majority of them are educated, have not cast their votes. This shows the educated and conscious people who can be game changers find a vacuum in the field of quality political leadership in the state. The non-participation of qualified voters also mitigates the TRS’ risk of supporting any centrist party in government formation. Politicians in the state know the educated game changers have lost their relevance due to their apathy to the election process and the scarcity of capable candidates in the fray.

TRS, in fact, thrives on the centrist parties’ inability to articulate the multiple socio-economic problems concerning the human development index of the state. Their political programs have failed to motivate 38% of the absentee voters who could have influenced the election result. More than 70% of the young voters in the age group of 18 to 26 stayed away from voting.

In the backdrop of voters’ aloofness, TRS is most likely to win more than 12 Lok Sabha seats which could help TRS to bargain with the centre for more financial benefits and central projects for the state. A seasoned politician, KCR is out to take a risk from a very safe position.

The prospect of supporting NDA in the government formation is in fact not free from risk. CPI-M supported UPA in 2004 from outside with 61 MPs after fighting UPA’s policies in the mohallas, streets and in the parliament. It enjoyed power with UPA I but lost its vote base. Its strength in the parliament reduced to 11 and its growth was retarded. It lost its support base in West Bengal, Tripura, and Kerala.

For TRS, it is not a huge risk because the party is run by one man, K Chandrasekar Rao who does not have cadres, fed with party ideologies like CPI-M and BJP. The people of Telangana still look at KCR as the protector of Telangana interest. The BJP after losing the support of its traditional ally, TDS will be more inclined to get TRS support. The All India Majlis-e-Ittehad-ul-Muslimeen (AIMIM), the ardent critic of the Modi government may not like TRS extending support to the BJP government in the centre. Being in a strong position, TRS may take the risk of losing AIMIM support for more central benefits.

Over the years, K Chandrasekhar Rao has taken many smart populist measures to safeguard his vote base. But KCR is still miles away from a pan India appeal. Since it is a Lok Sabha election, the result may swing in favor of the centrist parties in some constituencies of Telangana.

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