New Delhi: Telangana Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao got the State Assembly dissolved under a strategy he worked out with Prime Minister Narendra Modi and BJP President Amit Shah. The deal envisages an electoral alliance of Telangana Rashtra Samithi with the BJP under which the BJP will contest on more Lok Sabha seats.
Modi and Shah, however, can make the alliance public only after TRS wins the Assembly elections, according to a BJP leader involved in the negotiations. KCR advanced the Assembly polls as he believes he would have lost if these were held simultaneously with the Lok Sabha elections. Also, now the focus can be on KCR; had the two elections been held simultaneously, the spotlight would be on PM Modi and, to a lesser degree, Rahul.
Rao explained to the BJP leadership that Telangana has a large number of Muslim voters who may not be inclined to vote him back to power if he entered into an alliance with the BJP in the Assembly elections. So, as part of this tacit understanding, the TRS and the BJP will field their own candidates and Rao will continue to attack the BJP during poll meetings. Rao will also have a say in deciding the BJP candidates who can take on the Congress in the Assembly elections.
The TRS coming into the fold of the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance will help the BJP recoup from the loss of its erstwhile ally, the Telugu Desam Party. Fearing a loss of seats in the Hindi belt, particularly in Uttar Pradesh and Bihar which together send 120 MPs to the Lok Sabha, the BJP is also trying to rope in the Biju Janata Dal (BJD) in Odisha and AIADMK in Tamil Nadu to compensate any seat deficit in the Lok Sabha elections.
The BJP leader said Modi’s idea is to weaken the Congress focus on the three BJP-ruled states of Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Chhattisgarh, which are due for election. The Congress, it is felt, has been taken by surprise in Telangana. The Congress has a very strong presence in Telangana and it would have posed a threat to Rao’s TRS in the Assembly polls. It was already in talks with Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Chandra Babu Naidu, who heads the Telugu Desam Party, to jointly contest the Telangana Assembly poll to oust the TRS from power.
Congress President Rahul Gandhi is now bound to focus on Telangana as well in the Assembly elections; that will draw his attention from Rajasthan and MP. Chandrasekhar Rao going into the Modi camp has come as a rude shock to Trinamul Congress supremo and West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, who was even projecting him as the leader of the federal front she wanted to form to take on Modi.
She has been also in talks with Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik for his Biju Janata Dal, so that he can join her proposed federal front. The BJP insiders, however, say Patnaik has already committed to Narendra Modi that he will align with the BJP in the Lok Sabha polls.