TRS may play kingmaker in Andhra Pradesh
With assembly votes to be counted on Tuesday, all eyes are on Telangana Rashtra Samiti, which could play the role of kingmaker.
With votes cast in the assembly elections set to be counted Tuesday, all eyes are on the Telangana Rashtra Samiti (TRS), which could play the role of a kingmaker in the event of a hung assembly.
Fearing poaching by both the ruling Telugu Desam Party (TDP) and the Congress, TRS leaders are gearing up to protect their flock and have even made arrangements to confine them to a city hotel.
The TRS, which is fighting for a separate Telangana state, contested the elections in alliance with the opposition Congress party.
It contested 42 of the 107 assembly seats from Telangana. With some poll analysts predicting a hung assembly, the TRS could tilt the balance.
TRS leaders K. Chandrasekhar Rao and A. Narendra are busy evolving a strategy for the post-results scenario.
They fear the TDP might try to buy over TRS legislators in the event of falling short of a majority in the 294-member assembly. They are also wary that the Congress could resort to horse-trading to save itself the headache of forming a coalition government.
The TRS received a shot in the arm when election authorities clarified that even registered but unrecognised parties could issue a whip asking their legislators to support a particular party in the assembly.
Since the TRS is not a recognised party, doubts were raised on whether it could issue a whip. Violation of the whip could attract provisions of the anti-defection law.
TRS leaders, who have promised to make a separate Telangana a reality in six months, are playing their cards close to their chest.
Rao has kept open the option of joining a coalition government led by the Congress despite opposition from a section of party leaders.
The nascent party's action will be watched with keen interest even in national politics. The party, which contested six Lok Sabha seats, is not ruling out joining or supporting a National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government.
If the predictions of the TDP ending up with just five Lok Sabha seats come true, the TRS' role will become all the more important. It is in this hope that Rao and Narendra have contested both the Lok Sabha and assembly elections.
Narendra, who was with the BJP before joining the TRS, appears keen to join a possible NDA government. He hopes the BJP, which had dumped the issue of a separate Telangana state under pressure from its ally TDP, would help in realising the goal.
The TRS leaders feel Rao and Narendra would have to play their cards carefully as any wrong step would be seen as a betrayal of the movement for a separate state.