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Modi’s rendezvous with KCR: What does it imply?

Modi’s rendezvous with KCR: What does it imply?
Highlights

The TRS seems like it is not averse to even joining the BJP-led political combine at the Centre. But, the BJP all India leadership perhaps calculates that any such open alliance would only benefit the Congress as it would channelise peoples’ discontent against the State government in its favour. 

The TRS seems like it is not averse to even joining the BJP-led political combine at the Centre. But, the BJP all India leadership perhaps calculates that any such open alliance would only benefit the Congress as it would channelise peoples’ discontent against the State government in its favour.

The BJP will, therefore, continue with its strategy that is overtly unpredictable and confusing, yet innately well-calculated to keep the Congress at bay, which has failed in comprehending the grammar of BJP-TRS love-hate relationship


As Telangana is all set to welcome Prime Minister Narendra Modi for his forthcoming visit, political pundits are busy looking beyond and trying to analyse possible political significance of the visit. Although, the Prime Minister’s itinerary is predominantly official, one cannot brush aside political implications that come along.

On the face of it, Modi is likely to inaugurate flagship schemes of the TRS-led State government, especially Mission Bhagiratha, besides releasing the Mission Kakatiya pylon.

The BJP might argue that the Central government’s generous spending is behind these State government schemes. Irrespective of the explanations put forth by the BJP State leadership, what cannot miss the eye is that Modi’s visit in itself will be an endorsement of KCR government’s pet schemes, notwithstanding the BJP State unit’s virulent criticism of Mission Bhagiratha and its reservations about Mission Kakatiya.

Especially, Narendra Modi joins KCR on August 7, the friendship day. The State BJP leaders have gone to the extent of calling these programmes a fiscal profligacy aimed at benefiting a handful of contractors. Taken against the new development, Modi’s ‘endorsement’ is bound to put the local BJP on a sticky wicket.

However, if one looks at the larger picture, it exposes the line of thought and contrasting views prevalent in the BJP’s State and National leaderships vis-à-vis TRS and its government. How the Prime Minister could agree to inaugurate a programme for which even the Detailed Project Report (DPR) is not available, wondered a senior State BJP leader.

The fact of the matter is that the TRS, on its part, is also pursuing a love-hate relationship with the BJP. It has been to such extremes that even K Chandrashekar Rao made critical remarks over the new State BJP chief’s utterances, calling them ‘derogatory’ in nature.

Taken from a different angle, save during the GHMC polls, TRS has been appreciative of Modi’s programmes and was also an enthusiastic participant in the Swachh Bharat campaign.

On the other hand, the national BJP leaders, including those in the Union Cabinet, publicly praised KCR government’s flagship schemes like Mission Kakatiya and Mission Bhagiratha even as the State leaders had been overly critical of those schemes.

The State BJP leaders, perturbed by the friendly gestures from the All India leadership towards TRS government, have reportedly communicated their displeasure over this.

The State BJP reportedly told the central leadership that the given precarious situation, it would be difficult for the party to challenge the TRS at any point in time. Not one to miss the unspoken ‘differences’ of opinion, the TRS and the State ministers have been publicly attacking the State BJP leadership.

The culmination of this dichotomy in the BJP approach towards the TRS is the Prime Minister’s scheduled participation in a host of programmes at the request of the KCR government.

Not just the Prime Minister, even the party president Amit Shah primarily focused his attack on Congress during his public meeting in Suryapet recently. He just made a passing comment on the TRS leadership.

Amit Shah delivered a similar speech in Rajahmundry, primarily attacking Congress. At least, there is a reason for this in Andhra Pradesh as the BJP and the ruling Telugu Desam Party (TDP) are partners.

The BJP does not even want to antagonise the YSR Congress as it sees a potential ally in Jaganmohan Reddy in case of any political eventuality that forces the party to sever its ties with TDP.

But such a predicament does not exist in Telangana as the BJP is trying to position itself as an alternative to the TRS in the 2019 elections.

However, discernible political observers find a strategy in the carrot and stick policy the BJP is pursuing with regard to the TRS. The State BJP is given the go-ahead to take on TRS frontally so that the opportunity will not be seized by the Congress party.

The BJP is cautious to avoid the Congress monopolising any anti-incumbency factor against the KCR government, which explains the tirade against the State government.

The BJP joined the all-party crusade against the TRS government’s policies of land acquisition. Even representatives of central party took part in such action programmes in which even prominent Congress and the Left leaders participated.

But, at the same time, notwithstanding the pompous political claims, the BJP central leadership is fully conscious that political situation is not going to be any more favourable to the party in Telangana in the near future.

The Congress will be the likely beneficiary of any anti-incumbency against the State government as it is the principal opposition force in the State. Yet the BJP wants to make politically right noises against the TRS-led government to avail of whatever little political advantage that comes along. At least, the party prefers to deprive the Congress of the full benefits of possible public discontent over the TRS government.

But, the central BJP sees in the TRS a potential ally in the post-election scenario in 2019. This is the reason why the BJP is not ready to antagonise the non-Congress regional parties.

The BJP had to suffer humiliation in Bihar after the fall-out with Nitish Kumar, which paved the way for the Congress to resurrect itself. The BJP gained precious little in West Bengal, contrary to its hopes of garnering the anti-incumbency vote against Mamata Banerjee government.

In its bid to capitalise on any opportunity that comes its way, and smarter from the Bihar and the West Bengal disasters, the national BJP does not wish to lose the TDP in Andhra Pradesh and also wants to keep the TRS in good humor in Telangana.

However, the State BJP leaders, especially in Telangana, have their own aspirations. A senor BJP leader expressed dismay over the central leadership’s thinking in regard to the TRS.

The TRS is not going to have any electoral pact with the BJP in 2019. The BJP can always rope in the TRS in the post-election scenario if it falls short of numbers, independent of whether the party has pre-election tie-up or not.

Regional parties like the TRS that do not owe their existence primarily to anti-Congressism switch loyalties between the Congress and the BJP at the all-India level. On the other hand, the TRS perceives the Congress as more untouchable, given the fact that the BJP is not the main challenger to it in the State.

The all India BJP leadership is not ready to lose any potential non-Congress regional ally. Meanwhile, the national leadership’s friendly overtones towards the TRS government would render political harm to the already ‘confused’ State BJP leadership and its constant tirades against the KCR government.

Ironically, even the State BJP is not united on the strategy it should adopt towards the TRS government. A significant section of party leadership is in favour of having cordial relations with the TRS.

In the meantime, the TRS seems like it is not averse to even joining the BJP-led political combine at the Centre. But, the BJP all India leadership perhaps calculates that any such open alliance would only benefit the Congress as it would channelise peoples’ discontent against the State government in its favour.

The BJP will, therefore, continue with its strategy that is overtly unpredictable and confusing, yet innately well-calculated to keep the Congress at bay, which has failed in comprehending the grammar of BJP-TRS love-hate relationship.

Barring occasional outbursts now and then, the State Congress leadership has failed to counter the BJP-TRS equations head-on.

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