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Sunday, April 21, 2024

Why KCR’s Third Front is unlikely to woo voters

Telangana Chief Minister KCR (K Chandrashekhar Rao), who recently renamed his party as BRS (Bharat Rashtra Samithi) from Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS), is eyeing a spot in national politics.

A ‘mega’ meeting was held in Telangana that was attended by several opposition leaders including Samajwadi Party’s (SP) Akhilesh Yadav, Communist Party of India-Marxist’s (CPI-M) Pinarayi Vijayan, Communist Party of India’s (CPI) D Raja, and Aam Admi Party’s (AAP) Arvind Kejriwal and Bhagwant Mann. Interestingly, the ‘secular’ leaders visited the popular Yadadgiri Lakshmi Narasimha temple before proceeding to Khammam town where the meeting was held.

Last October, KCR expressed a desire to form a non-Congress, non-BJP national political front. This is the first meeting since then where he has attempted to bring parties not aligned to either of the national parties on a single platform.

The choice of Khammam as the meeting venue is also interesting because it lies on the Andhra-Telangana border. Rao is possibly trying to send a message to Andhra CM Jagan Mohan Reddy and former Andhra CM Chandrababu Naidu. It is worth highlighting that Khammam was a stronghold of Naidu’s TDP (Telugu Desam Party) till recently and just some weeks ago he held a public meeting here pulling huge crowds. KCR’s meeting would certainly have created a stir in both the Reddy and Naidu camps.

The Khammam meeting, however, appeared to be a complaining session with every leader of the anti-BJP camp criticizing the Modi-led BJP government on everything under the sun – be it BJP’s ideology or the Union government’s welfare schemes.

Even as KCR eyes a national spot, Rao’s BRS is faced with an uphill task in his home state itself. The odds are stacked against BRS in the upcoming 2023 Telangana election. Beating anti-incumbency would be his biggest challenge. He has been in power for almost ten years.

In addition to a two-term anti-incumbency, KCR has to contend with tough political opposition. There are multiple strong contenders who are likely to dent Rao’s political ambitions. BJP’s rising political footprint in the state, Congress, Jagan Reddy’s estranged sister’s newly founded YSRTP, Naidu’s TDP trying to leave a mark, and Owaisi’s AIMIM among others are some of the political opponents, KCR would have to deal with.

In the face of such stiff opposition, the best slogan Rao could come up with is ‘Ab Ki Baar, Kisaan Sirkar’ meaning he would provide a farmer-friendly government. However, the slogan is gaining popularity for all the wrong reasons. The slogan is nothing but a copy of BJP’s Ab ki Baar, Modi Sarkar slogan.

It is not only the slogan that has failed to strike a chord but KCR himself appears to have failed to impress the Kisaan (farmer) in whose welfare he promises his government would act. One farmer expressed his disappointment with the KCR government in his interview with GSR Telugu TV.

He had come to attend KCR’s meeting at Khammam but instead ended up busting the myth of KCR working for farmer welfare. “KCR might have spent 200-300 crores on this lavish meeting which is useless. They brought in daily labourers by paying ₹300. No one came willingly. Government should have given that money for the welfare of the farmers”, he says.

The reporter asked him about the Rythubandhu scheme for farmers. “Rythubandhu money is going to whoever possesses more land which is again a waste of money. KCR started BRS but his party is finished in Telangana. People will attend his meeting only because they are getting paid but they won’t vote for KCR. He doesn’t stand a chance in the upcoming election”, the farmer said.

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