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KCR, why commit hara-kiri?

KCR, why commit hara-kiri?
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TRS President KCR, Why Commit Hara-Kiri. TRS president K Chandrasekhar Rao is in a Hamletian dilemma – to merge with the Congress party or not.

TRS president K Chandrasekhar Rao is in a Hamletian dilemma – to merge with the Congress party or not.

Even as the formal announcement of the formation of Telangana State is awaited, the Congress party and the TRS are in a war of nerves over the merger of the latter with the Congress. In his anxiety to get statehood for Telangana, the TRS chief had committed that his party would merge with the Congress if the UPA Government could bifurcate Andhra Pradesh and form a separate State of Telangana. Now since the baby is delivered after a painful surgery and the umbilical cord is being cut, the Congress is demanding its pound of flesh. And that is the dilemma haunting KCR.

With Telangana finally happening, KCR’s is a party without an agenda. Merge with the Congress or squander the political advantage from making a reality, say Telangana watchers. This is absurd.

After India attained independence, Gandhiji wanted the Indian National Congress to be disbanded as, according to him, it had become irrelevant. But history proved otherwise.

People of Telangana are celebrating and are indebted to KCR, Congress president Sonia Gandhi and BJP’s Sushma Swaraj for having made it possible. KCR and his cadre had worked hard for over 13 years; hundreds of people, mostly students, had sacrificed their lives. People recognise that and will decide whom to give the credit and leadership, says KCR’s daughter Kavitha.

But the Congress can’t let KCR walk away with the fruit. Perhaps that is why Congress leaders are celebrating Sonia Gandhi as the goddess and Mother who delivered Telangana. Statues of Mrs Gandhi as the avatar of Telangana Talli are installed all over Telangana. But the BJP too is not going to stand by and watch the TRS and the Congress walk away with all the credit. Every single person in Telangana knows that without the BJP, the Telangana Bill would not have been passed in both Houses of Parliament.

Having tasted victory, TRS is in no mood to merge with the Congress, even if it means going back on its earlier promise. Union minister Jairam Ramesh’s uncharitable statement that TRS will go the Aam Aadmi Party way has further strengthened its resolve against merger. A huge 90 per cent of the supporters of TRS want the party to go it alone in the upcoming elections; however, finally an electoral alliance may be hammered out before the elections.

Of the 119 Assembly seats in Telangana, the existing seats would be retained by both the parties – about 50 with the Congress and 22 with TRS. The remaining seats would be shared equally.

KCR naturally doesn’t want to end up like Chiranjeevi, who has been left playing second fiddle to Congress leaders after his Praja Rajyam was gobbled up by the grand old party. Though he is open to go by whatever Sonia Gandhi desires to do, KCR is said to be under the impression that an alliance would do well rather than merger. He also changed his idea of having a Dalit Chief Minister for the new Telangana State. Now he wants to head the government and lead the reconstruction and development of Telangana

Chiranjeevi may be cursing his stars for merging his party with the Congress. After the merger, he had to wait almost a year to get a berth in the Union Council of Ministers. But that was short-lived. In the wake of the CWC decision to bifurcate the State, he resigned as a mark of solidarity with the people of Seemandhra. If he had not merged with the Congress he, along with 17 of his MLAs, could have joined either the TDP or the YSRCP for political survival.

The Congress is gasping for breath in Seemandhra where the YSRCP is poised to win more seats followed by the TDP.

KCR’s predicament will be well explained by the story of Mamata Banerjee in West Bengal. Being suffocated in the Congress for long, she came out and launched the Trinamool Congress (TMC), which captured the red bastion after 35 years of Left rule. In the government formation after the general elections in April-May, Mamata Banerjee will play a crucial rule. She talks of a Federal Government with regional parties. That could be a mirage, but Mamata has the option of joining even the NDA government led by the BJP.

By merging with the Congress, TRS has nothing to gain. The merger, if at all, would be as much of a lifeline for the Congress which is desperate to retain power at the Centre. Destined to draw blank in Seemandhra, the Congress is looking at the 17 Lok Sabha seats in Telangana with TRS. Merger or no merger, the Congress-TRS tie-up will leave other contenders way behind in Telangana. That the BJP is yet to gain ground and the YSRCP is almost non-existent in Telangana are coming in handy for the TRS to put across its arguments effortlessly.

It will benefit if Modi becomes Prime Minister after the elections. If TRS remains independent, it can join the NDA and benefit much more. The Congress is nowhere to be seen forming government, then why commit hara-kiri by merging with it?

Tailpiece: TDP will benefit if the merger takes place. It becomes the main opposition party in Telangana by default. And if the new government bungles like the Aam Aadmi Party in Delhi, it will be an open invitation to Chandrababu Naidu to do his unfinished work in Hyderabad, having firmly established himself in Seemandhra.

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