Political Pickle

Telangana Congress in wait-and-watch mode over KCR

The Congress in Telangana or whatever little is left of it, is a worried lot. For it knows that if the party’s central leadership reaches out to K Chandrasekhar Rao in a bid to form a UPA3 at the Centre, it will mark the deathknell of the party in Telangana.

“It will do to the Congress in Telangana what has happened to the party in Andhra. Dead. Zero. Whatever few hopes of revival are there, will go away,” says a Congress Rajya Sabha MP from Andhra Pradesh. He accuses rootless leaders from other states of deciding for the two Telugu states, without having any concern for the interests of the party. 

Telangana PCC chief Uttam Kumar Reddy who could be replaced soon

The Congress in Telangana is already in the midst of a crisis with 11 of its 19 legislators crossing over to the ruling Telangana Rashtra Samiti (TRS) since the assembly elections took place in December 2018. The morale of the party and the cadre went down as a result and the party ran a listless election campaign for the Lok Sabha. If it fails to win any seat or emerges victorious in just one or two seats, it won’t change its drooping shoulders status. 

“Telangana is a fertile ground for the Congress to revive. After all, we were seen to be in with a chance to upset the TRS in the assembly elections as well,” says D Sravan, Spokesperson and leader of the Telangana Congress. 

The TRS on the other hand is smarting from the MK Stalin snub where the DMK chief described KCR’s visit to his Chennai residence on Monday as a mere courtesy visit. It is also not pleased about Stalin’s refusal to desert the Congress and be part of a Federal Front of regional parties.  

The TRS is careful to avoid any messaging that it is keen on allying with the Congress and its leadership was not happy with senior leader Abid Rasool Khan suggesting that the Federal Front was open to taking Congress support if necessary to form the government. But it knows that a tie-up at the Centre with the Congress will be a win-win situation for the TRS in Telangana.

“KCR will deal directly with the Congress in Delhi, not bother about what the Congress leaders in Telangana say about him. The Congress unit will have to be subdued and cannot afford to rub him on the wrong side if his support is crucial for the Central government to stay in power,” says a Telangana Congress leader. 

The only fallout of the confusion over who will go with who is that the TRS leadership seems to have put on hold its move to take all the Congress legislators into its fold officially, till the results are announced on 23 May.

The BJP in united Andhra Pradesh regretted Chandrababu Naidu providing outside support to the BJP between 1998 and 2004 and thereby ensuring the party could never grow. The saffron party now sees an opportunity for itself should the Congress and TRS go together at the central level as it will mean the BJP will have the entire opposition space to itself in Telangana. 

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