AA Edit | Shifts in stance by KCR ruffle key Opp. leaders

The Asian Age.

Opinion, Edit

His efforts to augment his national powers have not worked so far, forcing him harder onto the white board, trying to create a new approach

Founder of the Bharat Rashtra Samithi (BRS) party and Telangana Chief Minister K. Chandrashekar Rao. (Photo: Twitter)

Founder of the Bharat Rashtra Samithi (BRS) party and Telangana Chief Minister K. Chandrashekar Rao has the ability to hook everyone’s attention, hold the gaze long enough to create a hypnotic impact, and then set into motion a series of forces and moves that would help him eventually get closer to his objective with strategic stealth and tactical improvisation that few in contemporary politics can match.

It was the very mind of constantly shifting the ball, passing it from one to another, retaining possession, and waiting for that one deadly shot at the goal that enabled him to succeed in his mission to get a separate statehood for Telangana against steep odds.

However, a state-level goal is one challenge, and trying to unseat Prime Minister Narendra Modi in the next Lok Sabha elections is another. Of course, BRS supremo Chandrashekar Rao has been trying since almost the very time he started a new party, the TRS. He was a partner of the Congress in 2004 and 2009, but tried to shift to the NDA. In 2014, he maintained equidistance but tried to build an anti-Modi front in 2019.

None of his efforts to augment his national powers have worked so far, forcing him harder onto the white board, trying to create a new approach. Of course, the upcoming state Assembly elections in Telangana impose a heavy restriction on his manoeuvrability, his hallmark and strength in the political arena, with the two national parties, the Congress and the BJP being his rivals.

After riding along the path of a strong anti-Modi stance for a couple of years, during which he met leaders across the country including Chief Ministers Nitish Kumar, Arvind Kejriwal, Bhagwant Mann, Hemant Soren and M.K. Stalin, and former CMs Akhilesh Yadav, Uddhav Thackeray and H.D. Kumaraswamy, besides many others, in his efforts to build cohesion, alignment and unity of purpose in opposing the PM Modi-led force in the 2024 elections.

But his efforts did not yield the desired results, primarily over the role of the Congress, to whose primacy he could not give in to given his state-level compulsions. However, in recent months, yet again, he had done a soft volte-face, and at a presser in Nagpur, described PM Modi as his “best friend”. Mr Rao, though he has refused to meet and greet Modi during his last few visits to Hyderabad, claimed that he was often in touch with the PM and discussed political issues with him routinely. For the first time, there has been a public expression of anger, doubts over his credibility and questions over his real intent, with NCP boss Sharad Pawar calling Rao a “B-team of Modi”, who is trying to actually help the BJP by contesting in those states, regions where the saffron party needs to cut the anti-BJP vote.

Mr Pawar’s statement that Mr Chandrashekar Rao actually intends to weaken the Congress will definitely put an extra ounce of difficulty in his efforts to make a national impact. Mr Rao would for now either focus on state elections and then go all out on a blitzkrieg or continually make small steps to expand his party in select regions and states, and wait for the opportune moment for the next giant leap.