Much as the TRS decision to abstain in the Rajya Sabha over the Triple Talaq bill has taken many by surprise, there is a sharp political thinking behind it. And though on the surface, the decision is being seen through the prism of being pro-BJP or anti-MIM, it is actually all about the TRS.
The TRS leadership believes that there was a certain erosion of the Hindu vote in two of the four constituencies – Karimnagar and Nizamabad – where it lost to the BJP in the Lok Sabha elections. And it realised that its position on the Triple Talaq Bill could cause it the vote of one gender of the Muslim community as well. Hence the decision to sit on the fence and not vote for either.
The calculation was that the Muslim men vote won’t go to the BJP and by default would come to the TRS, in the absence of a strong Congress in Telangana. But by abstaining, it could tell the Muslim women voters that they indirectly supported their cause.
If it had gone with the other opposition parties and voted against the Bill, it would have only helped BJP made inroads into the Muslim women electorate and the TRS would have been accused of minority appeasement. In terms of votes, it would have been a lose-lose situation.
The TRS also points out that triple talaq was never on its agenda. It says its focus areas were Shaadi Mubarak scheme to give financial support for Muslim marriages, appointing a Muslim as the deputy CM in its first term, renovating mosques, ramzan gifts.
The TRS is quite clear that its position on either the Triple Talaq Bill or the RTI amendments does not suggest any closeness to the BJP.
“Telangana needs funds so it would want good relations with the central government and thereby the BJP. Two, why would KCR shake hands with a party that defeated his daughter, Kavitha in Nizamabad,” asks a TRS leader.
While the BJP is happy to have the TRS lend a helping hand, it believes this is also part of KCR’s strategy to blunt its attack to an extent. By extending the hand of friendship whenever the central leadership of the BJP seeks it, KCR can prevent the state unit from fighting hard in Telangana.