Hyderabad: Telangana Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao’s attempt to wean DMK away from the Congress seems to have failed as the Tamil Nadu’s regional party poised to win majority of 39 Lok Sabha seats in the state has refused to back out from its pro-Congress line.
After the hourlong meeting with DMK President MK Stalin in Chennai on Monday evening, Telangana Chief Minister and Telangana Rashtra Samiti chief K Chandrasekhar Rao left for Hyderabad without making any comment. DMK on the other hand described the meeting as a “courtesy call”.
A terse online statement by the DMK said: “DMK President MK Stalin had a courtesy meeting with Telangana Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao at his residence”.
No reference was made to almost an hourlong exchange between the two over the possible national political scenario likely to emerge from the May 23 results of Parliament elections.
In a remark, not too pleasing for the TRS, Stalin told the media on Tuesday in Chennai that KCR had not come for any alliance talks. “He came to Tamil Nadu to offer prayers in various temples, and on that basis sought an appointment with me for a courtesy call. That is all.”
TRS sources on the other hand shared some of the details of discussions like how KCR invited DMK to join a proposed alliance or block of southern regional parties for a collective bargaining with other parties for a lion’s share in the next coalition government. KCR expressed his unhappiness over the shabby deal Congress party gave to the regional parties while forming UPA government by refusing to leave any of the key portfolios to them and wanted a collective bargain this time. He also talked of a Third Front or a Federal Front of regional parties at the national level to play a leading role in the next government.
However Stalin, who has already declared his support to Rahul Gandhi as the next Prime Minister was not enthusiastic towards any other option. Replying to a question from media, Stalin said, “it does not seems to be that there is a chance for that (Third Front). But that will be decided after counting of votes on May 23”, he said.
According to the sources, KCR urged Stalin not to say anything after the results come out and a clear picture emerges on May 23 and 24. “Please wait till I come back to you”, Telangana Chief Minister advised Stalin hoping that the results will again offer him a window of opportunity to bring the southern regional parties together on a single platform.
As part of his mission to build a third front, KCR has already held discussions with Kerala Chief Minister and senior CPM leader Pinarayi Vijayan and spoke to Karnataka counter part and Janata Dal Secular leader HD Kumaraswamy.
TRS leaders say KCR was calculating that while he along with YS Jaganmohan Reddy of YSR Congress in Andhra Pradesh will have solid block of about 35 MPs and was also hoping that DMK, JDS and left will have another 45 to 50 MPs from south and this block of about 80 MPs will enable them to have a hard bargain. “Apart from building a strong block of regional parties KCR was also exploring a leadership role for himself at the Centre”, a senior TRS leader said. According to the buzz in political circles he was eyeing the post of deputy Prime Ministership for himself and some important portfolios for other TRS MPs.
Hesitation of Stalin and some other regional leaders to warmly embrace KCR’s idea was not without a reason. KCR was seen as more sympathetic towards the BJP who supported Prime Minister Narendra Modi on many critical decisions, including the demonetisation and GST.
KCR was also apprehensive of Congress getting an upper hand in the next government at the centre given his bitter and all out war against Congress in Telangana. Congress has turned a sworn enemy of KCR after TRS encouraging 12 Congress MLA to defect to its ranks almost decimating the party in the state. KCR’s nightmare was Congress securing enough numbers along with its allies to form the next coalition government without needing the support of TRS.