Kolkata: Mamata Banerjee and K. Chandrashekar Rao address the media after a meeting in Howrah near Kolkata, Monday, Dec 24, 2018. PTI

Can KCR’s Federal Front Bid Trip Up A Congress-Led Alliance?

Fresh from a landslide win in the assembly elections, Telangana Chief Minister K Chandrashekar Rao has set his sights on national politics.

The Telangana Rashtra Samithi chief met with West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee and Odisha counterpart Naveen Patnaik. Samajwadi Party Chief Akhilesh Yadav is slated to meet him soon too.

“He has made his intentions clear that he will now move to Delhi,” said political analyst Neerja Chowdhury. It is possible that KCR could even install his son, KTR, as chief minister of the state and look at fashioning a non-Congress, non-Bharatiya Janata Party front, she said. While a combination of regional outfits excluding the two national parties has been attempted several times before, it hasn’t been successful in the last few elections. Some of the parties KCR is wooing are also possible alliance partners in a Congress-led coalition which is likely to take shape over the next few months. That may actually end up benefiting the BJP.

KCR’s efforts to forge a Federal Front will help the BJP in the long run, and he has of late taken those positions which have come to the rescue of the BJP. 
Neerja Chowdhury, Political analyst
Telangana Chief Minister K Chandrashekar Rao meets Prime Minister Narendra Modi in New Delhi on 26th December. Photo: PTI

Senior Journalist Krishna Prasad calls the attempts to form a Federal Front unrealistic. Leaders like Banerjee or Patnaik who command more Lok Sabha seats than KCR would not want to play junior partners in a venture like this, he said. Telangana, which KCR rules, sends 17 members to the Lok Sabha compared with 42 from West Bengal and 21 in Odisha.

It’s a bit of kite flying, a bit of posturing and a bit of internal sabotage in the sense that there’s an attempt by the BJP, having realised that it may not get the same numbers it got in 2014, to fish in different waters.
Krishna Prasad, Senior Political journalist

Moreover, the response of other regional leaders to KCR has been tepid at best. Both Patnaik and Banerjee remained non-committal to any kind of pre-poll alliance with the TRS. Yadav, still smarting from the Congress snub to his party’s support in Madhya Pradesh, is possibly sending out a message.

The Congress’ attitude is a headache for other regional players, according to Janata Dal (United) veteran KC Tyagi. His party is an alliance partner of the BJP.

The BSP and the SP were annoyed as even a single party member was not made a minister. This intolerant, Big Brother attitude will cost the Congress party.
KC Tyagi, JD(U) Leader

Tamanna Inamdar debates the Federal Front with KC Tyagi, Neerja Chowdhury and Krishna Prasad