Of the different ways in which a regional leader can launch himself nationally was a tried and failed experiment of the late NT Rama Rao to turn his Telugu Desam Party into Bharat Desam Party at a time when other leaders of the opposition were struggling to stitch together an alliance to defeat the Rajiv Gandhi-led Congress government in the mid-1980s. The BDS never materialised, but now another strong Telugu party, the Telangana Rashtra Samithy led by Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao (KCR) wants to turn it into Bharat Rashtra Samithy. He said today that he was going to launch a national party soon, and the work to formulate its policies was going on.
“There has been a consensus on the alternative national agenda after prolonged discussions with intellectuals, economists and experts from various fields like we did before the start of the Telangana movement,” an official release from KCR’s office said. “Very soon, the formation of a national party and formulation of its policies will take place,” the release added.
The proposed BRS was in news before the presidential election campaign, from which KCR withdrew when he saw his counterpart from West Bengal, Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, had occupied the central role, as she had done before the 2019 Lok Sabha election. The plan for BRS now stands revived.
KCR has been eyeing a larger role in national politics and is looking to rally the support of like-minded regional parties. He met former Karnataka chief minister and Janata Dal (Secular) leader H D Kumaraswamy in Hyderabad on Sunday afternoon, in a follow-up to their earlier meeting in Bengaluru in May. According to insiders, the two discussed the current scenario in national politics and other issues after lunch.
Last month, KCR met his Bihar counterpart and JD(U) supremo Nitish Kumar in Patna, where he called for a “BJP-mukt Bharat”. In May, he visited Delhi and Chandigarh, apart from Bengaluru. Some of his discussions with regional leaders have focused on keeping the Indian National Congress out of any federal alliance, sources said.
According to TRS functionaries, while some regional leaders are on board with KCR on this proposal, some are not so sure. KCR is also seeking the support of the Left parties, civil society, and intellectuals. Last week, he met CPI(M)’s state secretary Tammineni Veerabhadram, former MLA Julakanti Rangareddy and the party’s central committee member Cherupalli Sitaramulu. The discussions went on for about an hour.