Telangana Chief Minister K Chandrashekar Rao is a man on a mission these days. So is his office.
As the CM meets leaders at home and outside the state, jostling for the Opposition space that is seen as gapingly vacant, his office has been putting out statements of his counterparts fulsome in praise for the veteran Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) leader, similar in their expression of it, and common in calling him a “role model” for the country.
Take the statement released by KCR’s office after his meeting with former Karnataka CM H D Kumaraswamy last week. As per the statement quoting Kumaraswamy, the latter assured his party JD(U)’s full support for KCR, adding: “CM KCR, who is leading the Telangana state on the path of progress by fulfilling the Telangana people’s 60-year-old aspirations, should move forward to constitute an alternative front in national politics and play a key role.”
The statement also said that the entire country was discussing the “development achieved by Telangana” in a span of just eight years after its formation and wanted to see similar progress. “Kumaraswamy asserted the immense experience of Chief Minister K Chandrashekar Rao, who achieved Telangana state by uniting all sections… The Karnataka former CM opined that (there) is urgent need in the country (for) a senior leader like CM KCR, in the wake of the space for an alternative in the current national politics and the governance of the country… The country needs the Telangana model.’’
On August 27, after a meeting of the National Farmers’ Unions held under the leadership of KCR in Hyderabad, the statement released by the CMO said the unions had “adopted a unanimous resolution to constitute a national farmers’ united forum to ensure the implementation of the Telangana state government’s farmer welfare schemes in the country. The farmer leaders participating in the meeting made it clear that the Telangana model is imperative for the agriculture sector in the country. They said that the time has come to unite the entire farming community and Chief Minister K Chandrashekar Rao should take the initiative in this regard.”
After his meeting with Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar in Patna, KCR’s office said the latter had called KCR “the unique (one and only) leader in the history of the country”. “Bihar CM Nitish Kumar said that CM KCR fought for Telangana, achieved statehood and set the new state of Telangana as a role model in the country.”
Another part of the statement quoted Nitish Kumar as saying: “You are the one and only who succeeded in achieving statehood for a state. You are the great leader who achieved a state.”
KCR’s office has released similar statements quoting other regional party leaders. When KCR went to meet Jharkhand leaders Shibu Soren and Hemant Soren in Ranchi, his office said he was welcomed with hoardings and messages like ‘Desh Ka Neta (The Country’s Leader)’, ‘Telangana Achiever’, ‘Visionary of Bangaru Telangana’ and ‘National Federal Front Leader’.
After his meetings with DMK chief and Tamil Nadu counterpart M K Stalin and SP chief Akhilesh Yadav, the CMO said the leaders had discussed national politics and KCR’s efforts to stitch together an alliance of non-NDA parties.
Telangana BJP chief spokesperson K Krishna Sagar Rao said KCR was “dreaming”. “Many regional party leaders are dreaming of playing a big role in national politics and consider themselves PM probables, and among them KCR is a bit more aggressive than the others… He has to do something to build credibility and so is seeking recommendations from other regional leaders. Leaders of regional parties all over the country hoping to replace the Congress are endorsing each other like this,” Rao said.
Senior Congress leader and its Legislative Party head, M Bhatti Vikramarka, said KCR was seeking such endorsements as he also knew that the Congress was the only alternative. “Leaders of regional parties across the country do not believe that an anti-BJP alliance is possible without the Congress. It is the only national party with roots down at the village level. That is why KCR is trying to get recommendations from other party leaders,” Bhatti said.
It would be interesting to see what Nitish Kumar makes of this avatar of KCR. Their meeting in Patna was marked by an interesting sideshow, with the two grappling with the question of joint Opposition plans at a press conference.