After AAP’s massive win in Delhi, KCR revives Federal Front idea
KCR mooted the idea of a federal front before the general elections last year. He flew from one state to another to discuss the idea with regional satraps like H D Deve Gowda of the JD (S) in Karnataka, M K Stalin of the DMK in Tamil Nadu, Naveen Patnaik of the BJD in Odisha and Mamata Banerjee of the Trinamool Congress in West Bengal.Updated: Feb 12, 2020 20:24 IST
The third straight victory of the Arvind Kejriwal-led Aam Aadmi Party in the assembly elections in New Delhi has rekindled the hopes of Telangana Rashtra Samithi president and chief minister K Chandrasekhar Rao to revive his plans to float a federal front of regional parties at the national level as an alternative to the two national parties – the Bharatiya Janata Party and the Congress.
The TRS chief told reporters in Hyderabad on January 25 that the AAP was likely to win the elections, reflecting the people’s opinion against the BJP’s divisive politics at the national level. He announced that he would soon conduct a meeting of all regional parties and like-minded chief ministers in Hyderabad opposing the CAA and NRC, which are anti-constitutional.
A TRS leader familiar with the development said KCR would use the meeting as an opportunity to revive the concept of the federal front with a common national agenda, as an alternative to the BJP and the Congress. “It may not materialize immediately, but it would definitely be a beginning in that direction,” he said.
In fact, KCR mooted the idea of a federal front before the general elections last year. He flew from one state to another to discuss the idea with regional satraps like H D Deve Gowda of the Janata Dal (Secular) in Karnataka, M K Stalin of the Dravidra Munnetra Kazhagam in Tamil Nadu, Naveen Patnaik of the Biju Janata Dal in Odisha, Mamata Banerjee of the Trinamool Congress in West Bengal, Hemanth Soren of Jharkhand Mukti Morcha in Jharkhand and Akhilesh Yadav of the Samajwadi Party in Uttar Pradesh.
Back home, he also held talks with Asaduddin Owaisi of the All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (AIMIM) and Y S Jagan Mohan Reddy of the YSR Congress party.
Though some leaders evinced interest in his federal front concept, it did not work out and many of them preferred to join hands with the Congress under the umbrella of the Maha Gatbandhan at the initiation of Telugu Desam Party president N Chandrababu Naidu to fight against the BJP. However, with the BJP returning to power with a massive mandate in May 2019, the ideas of a grand alliance as well as a federal front fell flat.
Now, the TRS chief has seen an opportunity to revive the federal front, with BJP losing one state after the other to regional parties in the last few months and the Congress still unable to gain strength on its own completely. The TRS leadership is of the view that after Arvind Kejriwal in Delhi, there is every possibility that regional leaders will hold sway in next year’s assembly elections in different states, like Mamata Banerjee in West Bengal and DMK in Tamil Nadu and Laloo Prasad Yadav in Bihar. “By the next elections, even the Nationalist Congress party and JD(S) can be roped into the federal front plan,” the TRS leader quoted above said.
However, senior TRS leader and former MP B Vinod Kumar, considered to be close to KCR, said it is too early to talk about the formation of a federal front since it is more than four years to go for the next general elections.
“However, one thing is certain. Regional parties ruling different states are gaining strength because they are able to fulfil the aspirations of the people, while the so-called national parties have failed. That is why leaders like KCR, Naveen Patnaik and Kejriwal have emerged successful. It is an indication of the future political scenario in the country,” Vinod Kumar said.
BJP, however, doesn’t see any such federal front taking shape at all. “There is a possibility of these parties rehashing the federal front model all over again. But with their inherent personal greed for power, they can never come together as an electoral coalition. However, there will surely be a fresh attempt to restart a high decibel campaign against the BJP nationally,” Telangana BJP spokesperson K Krishna Sagar Rao said.
Political analyst and Osmania University professor K Nageshwar, too, feels there is no possibility of such a front at least before the elections. “Front politics is all about arithmetic, as there is no chemistry between any two parties. If at all there is one, it will only be in the post-poll scenario,” he said.
Meanwhile leaders of various opposition parties in the country reacted cautiously to KCR’s idea of reviving the federal front. Trinamool’s Lok Sabha floor leader Sudip Bandopadhyay said, “Let us see what the plans are. Before the last Lok Sabha election, KCR was the first chief minister who flew down to Kolkata to meet West Bengal CM and Trinamool chief Mamata Banerjee to form a federal front. But nothing happened afterwards.”
Former Congress MP and Telangana leader Madhu Yakshi Goud was more scathing in his comments.
“KCR has allied with the NDA in 2014, and has supported Modi in every bill since. He had tried to form a third front with Mamata Banerjee and Stalin, but failed because any front cannot work without the Congress. He is playing into the hands of Modi-Shah, and is dividing the anti-BJP vote. In the Telangana assembly elections, the BJP leaders were aligned with the TRS and even helped them electorally. This is just to help the BJP,” Madhu Yakshi Goud said.
The Left also reacted cautiously to the idea with Sitaram Yechury, of the CPI(M) saying “We have seen many such proposals of a federal front or a similar arrangement in the past. So, let us wait and see if anything concrete comes out of the latest plan. Federal Front is an idea which is not very easy to implement and it has many layers.”
With inputs from Saubhadra Chatterjee.