K Chandrashekar Rao wants to form a federal front to take on the government in the 2019 polls
There was a lot of acrimony between Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) chief K Chandrashekar Rao and Congress president Rahul Gandhi in the run-up to the state polls. During an intense campaign, Mr Gandhi's barb that Mr Rao — also called KCR–was "Khao Commission Rao" was returned by the leader, who called the Congress chief a "buffoon". There were speculation that the bitter rivals will cross paths at Mamata Banerjee's opposition rally in Kolkata on January 19. However, a senior leader of Mr Rao's party thinks otherwise.
B Vinod Kumar, a senior leader of KCR's party, thinks Mr Rao will not attend Ms Banerjee's rally when Mr Gandhi will also be in attendance. "I do not know whether KCR got the invitation or not. I am not aware of it. He might have got the invitation. I do not think KCR will attend when Rahul Gandhi is attending," he said.
KCR led his party to a thumping win in Telangana in December last year. After the electoral win, K Chandrashekar Rao shifted his focus to his new project — a federal alliance without the BJP and the Congress. He recently met West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee and Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik in this regard.
Ms Banerjee is holding an opposition's rally, where she is likely to project herself as the leader of the Mahagathbandhan, a proposed anti-BJP alliance between regional parties and the Congress. Mr Patnaik said today that his party, the BJD, will not enter into a partnership with any party for the general elections.
KCR's rival N Chandrababu Naidu is one of the key figures in talks between regional parties and the Congress to form an anti-BJP alliance. The parties have come together on similar platforms many times to show that they are united, but rifts have come on the surface recently when MK Stalin proposed the name of Rahul Gandhi as their prime ministerial face. Many constituents of the proposed alliance opposed the comment.
Both the rival proposed alliances wanted Mayawati and Akhilesh Yadav — major players in Uttar Pradesh– onboard. But the two leaders recently reached an agreement in the state, deciding to leave out the Congress.
The TRS sources claimed that KCR's federal front idea was gaining traction.
"….already that idea is broached. Mayawati and Akhilesh took a stand that they are not going to ally with Congress in Uttar Pradesh. They are also fighting against the Congress and BJP, leaving only two seats for Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi," Mr Kumar said.