K Chandrashekar Rao
K Chandrashekar Rao Image Credit: PTI

Hyderabad: Telangana Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao’s resumed mission to build a third alternative to the Bharatiya Janata Party and the Congress seems to have run into rough weather just a day after he met Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan.

Even as some Telangana Rashtra Samiti (TRS) leaders declared that KCR’s next stop will be Chennai where he would meet Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam boss M.K. Stalin on May 13, word came that Stalin’s engagement diary does not have such appointment for the day.

KCR’s daughter K Kavitha has also confirmed that the meeting with Stalin was not confirmed.

This in itself tells a story of KCR’s eagerness to get DMK on board for his proposed ‘Federal Front’ but equally of Stalin’s hesitation to keep distance from any such move. While KCR had visited Chennai in April and met DMK patriarch M Karunanidhi and also discussed his plans of third front with Stalin, subsequently the latter publicly declared his support to the idea of Congress president Rahul Gandhi becoming the next prime minister.

KCR has never tried to make a secret of his dislike for Congress and Rahul Gandhi and was aggressively pushing the idea of a non-BJP, non-Congress alliance of regional parties.

The meeting with Vijayan was first such efforts by KCR over the last eight months. KCR had kept his plans for the Federal Front on back burner first for the state assembly elections in December 2018 and then for the Lok Sabha elections now under way.

TRS leaders say that KCR’s mission to Kerala was aimed at opening the communication lines with the top leadership of the left parties and gauge their mood on the idea of a third front.

Though KCR did not make any comment after meeting his Kerala counter part, Vijayan told the media on Tuesday that the meeting was significant. “We discussed the national political scenario. However, there was no discussion about the PM candidate”.

KCR has resumed his mission at a time when voting is over for 424 of the 542 Lok Sabha seats in five phases. As two more phases of polling were scheduled for May 12 and 19 before the votes were counted on May 23, buzz was increasing that Narendra Modi-led BJP was unlikely to secure a majority. Similarly, Congress was also unlikely to be in a position to form the next government on its own and the regional parties will emerge as a pivot to the formation of the next government.

According to the TRS leaders, KCR believes that the regional parties will secure more than 150 seats and will be in a position to play an important role. He is counting Uttar Pradesh’s Grand Alliance of Bahujan Samaj Party and Samajwadi Party, Odisha’s Biju Janata Dal, Mamata Banerjee’s Trinamool Congress and DMK in this list.

But what hampered KCR’s plan in the past and was likely to pose a challenge in the days ahead was the unwillingness of many of the regional players to completely disregard Congress in any future alignment. KCR seems to be alone in maintaining a hard anti-Congress stance at this juncture.