In January-end, after the Andhra Pradesh assembly rejected the Telangana bill, a chagrined Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) chief K Chandrasekhar Rao announced he is going to New Delhi and would return only to a separate state of Telangana.
Over the last 10 years, the TRS leader popularly known as KCR, made several such proclamations and promises which turned out to be false. At one time, the region’s people were so annoyed by his “Telangana by next Sankranti” or “division by the coming Dasara” statements that they doubted if a separate state would ever be a reality.
Given this context, the political face of the Telangana movement is set to receive a rousing welcome at the Rajiv Gandhi International Airport in Hyderabad in the next few days, if the Telangana bill passes the Rajya Sabha hurdle too.
However, his home-coming would not be before clinching a deal (read merger) with the party that pushed through the Andhra Pradesh division, finally.
In fact, since the Congress’s division decision in July, Congress general secretary and AP Congress in-charge Digvijaya Singh had, on several occasions, reminded the TRS of their offer to merge with INC, if Telangana is given.
Full coverage: The Telangana tangle
With the bill getting a Lok Sabha clearance, the TRS which played hardball till now is favouring a merger that would not split the Telangana — which has 17 LS seats — vote between the two. For the Congress, it brings the political gains it so desperately needs.
“Today is not the day to discuss politics. It’s time to celebrate,” KCR’s son and party MLA K Tarakarama Rao told HT.
However, party insiders believe it would be difficult for KCR and family to sustain TRS for long especially in the absence of a sentiment to harp on post state formation.
Unlike other parties with strong cadre and organisation, TRS’ strength is the ‘T’ sentiment.
A Telangana party merging with Congress is not new to the region. But unlike the Telangana Praja Samithi led by Marri Chenna Reddy that merged with INC in 1971 and the movement subsequently fizzling out, this time a Telangana state looks mandatory for a merger.