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Telangana non-regional parties vie to fill void left by TRS amid KCR’s national plans

Has the name change of the ruling Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) to the Bharat Rashtra Samithi (BRS) hit non-regional parties in the state? At a recent party rally, TDP chief N Chandrababu Naidu asked party members to step up activities in Telangana and bring about a revival of the party that once held power in undivided Andhra Pradesh. Janasena Party chief Pawan Kalyan has asked his party cadres to elect seven or fourteen seats in Telangana and hinted at a Kondagattu yatra. While YSRCP leader YS Sharmila, who has been sitting on a Padayatra in Telangana since July last year, filed a complaint with the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) regarding alleged corruption in the Kaleshwaram Lift Irrigation Project.

TRS came to power in 2014 after the split of Andhra Pradesh, stemming from Telangana sentiment. The pink party projected itself as the one who can rectify the alleged historical wrongs inflicted on the people of the Telangana region by ‘Andhraites’. There was a strong anti-Andhra wave that caused the party led by K Chandrasekhar Rao to triumph in the newly formed state. But with KCR announcing its national plans and removing ‘Telangana’ from the party’s name, political pundits feel the TRS’s regional power is being watered down, giving the ‘Andhra’ parties a level playing field.

When asked about the matter, Krishna Sagar Rao, chief spokesman for the BJP, said: “KCR chief minister has made the biggest mistake of his political career by renaming his party in haste. It will definitely have negative consequences. TRS has earned a reputation as a strong regional party and has successfully come to power twice, despite the BJP and Congress playing key roles in the formation of the separate state. BRS won’t cut ice regionally and KCR will lose home base and may not find national space either. ‘Na Ghar Ka Na Ghat Ka’ can be a great possibility.”

He confirmed that parties such as the TDP and YSRCP are striving to re-enter Telangana to fill the void the BRS has created. “I foresee one or more hyper-regional parties that will come to the scene sooner or later,” Krishna Sagar Rao added.

However, the TRS says there is another reason for the visible activity in the non-regional camp in Telangana. TRS leader Krishank Manne told News18: “I don’t think the local sentiment is accompanied by a name change because even after Modi became prime minister, his first love is always Gujarat. As CM of Telangana, KCR will certainly continue to represent the interests of the state as well. For these parties, their interests have always been their private property and are also anchored by the BJP. TDP has had occasional alliances with the BJP, Jana Sena entered politics with the BJP. In Munugodu’s poll, TDP did not put forward a candidate, but the flag was seen with BJP candidate Komatireddy Raj Gopal Reddy. This alliance wants to act against TRS.”

He further said that before asking questions about the Kaleshwaram project, Sharmila should investigate the projects started by her late father, YS Rajasekhara Reddy. “When Sharmila questions Kaleshwaram contractors, she should first ask who introduced mega contractors to the state? It was her father. Her father started the Pranahita Chevella project, which was transformed into the Kaleshwaram project. The same contractors her father had hired continued to work on the project. He started Jala Yagnam only to mint money. Even her husband is part of it. She’s doing this because she’s a BJP stooge,” Krishank added.

TDP’s national spokesman, Prem Kumar Jain, said that regardless of the name change, the people of Telangana want development and they know that only KCR can provide that. “People remember how Naidu worked for the development of the state when he was the prime minister. A mere name change does not change the policy of the TRS. Naidu has always said that the two states (AP and Telangana) are like his two eyes. So his interest in Telangana never wavered.”

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