Lok Sabha elections 2019| ‘Time for national parties to support regional forces’: KT Rama Rao
The Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) swept the state assembly polls in December to return to power with 88 seats in a 119-member House. The party now hopes to play a key role in the government formation at the Centre after the results of the national elections are announced. TRS working president and Telangana chief minister K Chandrasekhar Rao (KCR)’s son, KT Rama Rao, spoke to Hindustan Times about the prospects of regional parties such as the TRS in the national polls. Edited excerpts:
When Rahul Gandhi campaigned against us in the assembly elections, he called us the BJP’s B team. …we are the ones who trounced the BJP [in the assembly polls]. Out of the 119 seats, the BJP lost its deposits in 103. That is how badly we hit them. When [PM Narendra] Modiji comes here, he calls us the Congress’s B team. I would like to tell both that we are the A and the true team of Telangana’s people. We will continue to remain so. ...whatever Rahul Gandhi would like to call us or whatever he might like to believe about our alleged affiliation with Modiji, we have nothing to do with him… We trounced them then and we will trounce them again. Out of [Telangana]’s 17 Lok Sabha seats, I would be surprised if the BJP saves its deposits in more than two or three seats.
…these 17 seats are going to give us a handle in Delhi in terms of having a decisive say in next government formation. We believe that the BJP/NDA will get between 150 and 170 seats. The Congress is not crossing 100 seats. Therefore, neither of the two so-called national parties have any hope of forming the government on their own. And at the same time, regional forces are emerging stronger. [TMC chief] Mamata Banerjee is doing well in West Bengal. So is the case with Naveenji [BJD chief Naveen Patnaik] in Odisha and SP-BSP alliance in UP. We could even see a non-BJP, non-Congress Prime Minister. It is the time for national parties to pay back and support regional forces in forming the next government.
Our chief minister [KCR] has made it clear that he has no such ambition. That person [PM] could be from anywhere. It might sound far-fetched at this time. In 2003-04, who would have believed Manmohan Singh will be the PM for 10 years. Similarly, people would have laughed had someone said in 2010-11 that Modiji will be the PM in 2014. I am not saying that KCR will become the Prime Minister but I would also like to say that he has all the ability to run the country. It could be anyone. Both BJP and Congress would like to believe that this is the tussle between Modiji and Rahul Gandhiji because that suits them. The fact is that this country has many options.
Today, out of the 130 seats in south India, neither of the two so-called national parties can claim they could win 10 seats in any of the southern states. How can you claim to be national parties when the country’s most developed part is rejecting you? What is going to happen in north India is anybody’s guess. The SP- BSP will have significant numbers in UP, which then marginalises both BJP and Congress. Likewise, it is a divided house in Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Chhattisgarh, Punjab and Delhi. So, we in TRS believe that we will have a larger say in Delhi.