Why is KCR targeting Congress, going soft on BJP?

The sudden shift in the strategy by Telangana Chief Minister K. Chandrasekhar Rao by going silent on BJP while targeting Congress has sparked speculation in the political circles in the run-up to the Assembly polls scheduled later this year.

Hyderabad, June 14 (IANS) The sudden shift in the strategy by Telangana Chief Minister K. Chandrasekhar Rao by going silent on BJP while targeting Congress has sparked speculation in the political circles in the run-up to the Assembly polls scheduled later this year.

At three public meetings he addressed in different parts of the state during the last one week, the Bharat Rashtra Samithi (BRS) went all out against the Congress party but spared the BJP.

Leaders of the Congress party, however, are not surprised over the development as they believe that KCR always had a secret understanding with the BJP.

“After the victory of Congress party in Karnataka elections, both BJP and BRS have taken a step back. KCR now sees Congress as the party which can defeat him,” senior Congress leader and former minister Mohammed Ali Shabbir told IANS.

He is not surprised that KCR has started singling out the Congress party for his attacks while sparing the BJP, which had been his main target for the last couple of years.

The speeches made by KCR at public meetings in Nirmal, Nagarkurnool and Gadwal over the last one week have baffled the political circles as he went all out to attack the Congress party but avoided criticizing the BJP.

The content and tone and tenor of his speeches indicate a shift in strategy ahead of the Assembly elections, which are due to be held in November-December 2023.

“This is nothing but part of a package between BRS and BJP. The BJP has been using the same tactic in almost every state by threatening to use the CBI, ED and other central agencies,” said Shabbir in an obvious reference to the allegations against KCR’s daughter K. Kavitha in the Delhi liquor policy case.

The CBI and ED recently questioned Kavitha, a former MP and now a state legislator.

The Congress leader pointed out that the BJP used the same tactics against Andhra Pradesh Pradesh Chief Minister Y.S. Jagan Mohan Reddy, against whom CBI cases are pending for alleged disproportionate assets.

“The BJP has been using smaller parties against the Congress. There is nothing new in it,” said Shabbir.

At the recent public meetings, the BRS chief slammed the Congress party and called on people to throw the party in Bay of Bengal. Not long ago, KCR was using the same words for BJP.

With the Congress leaders promising that if the party is voted to power it will abolish Dharani portal, KCR is hitting back at the grand old party. “Those talking of throwing Dharani portal in the Bay of Bengal should be thrown in Bay of Bengal,” he said at the public meeting in Nagarkurnool on June 6.

The BRS government had brought the Dharani portal in 2020 as a one-stop solution for all land records under large-scale reforms in the revenue system. The Congress party, however, claims that Dharani added to the problems of land owners, especially farmers.

KCR at his public meeting at Nagarkurnool launched an all-out attack on Congress saying by repealing Dharani it wants to bring back the regime of middlemen and corruption in the revenue administration.

The BRS chief, however, was silent on BJP, whose leaders are equally critical of Dharani. Union minister for tourism and culture G. Kishan Reddy had said last month that KCR family and BRS were looting people using Dharani portal.

At most of his public meetings over the last two years, KCR minced no words to attack BJP and Prime Minister Narendra Modi over a host of issues ranging from hate politics to discrimination against Telangana. His silence on BJP at the public meetings raised eyebrows in political circles.

The Congress leaders maintain that for KCR, Congress remained the number one political opponent. They recall that KCR had ‘betrayed’ the Congress party by going back on his word to merge Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) with the Congress if the latter carves out Telangana state.

After Telangana state was formed, KCR decided not to merge TRS with Congress. Shabbir pointed out that after 2014 elections, TRS engineered defections in Congress and adopted the same strategy after retaining power in 2018.

“KCR’s attacks on BJP were all drama to mislead people. Everybody knows that BJP hardly has any existence in Telangana. It’s the Congress party which has cadres across the state,” he said.

The Congress leader said after the outcome of Karnataka elections has boosted the morale of the party. “KCR is afraid because the Congress party has become strong with the leaders ending all their differences to come together and gear up for the coming polls,” Shabbir said.

The Karnataka poll result has pumped new enthusiasm in the Congress party and its leaders claimed that the outcome will be repeated in Telangana.

KCR’s son and BRS working president K.T. Rama Rao has stated that the Karnataka poll result will have no bearing on Telangana.

While the BRS leaders are publicly denying that the Karnataka outcome will have no impact on Telangana, the ruling appears to be wary of a rejuvenated Congress.

Political analysts say that changed political equations in the wake of BJP’s poll debacle in Karnataka may have led to KCR changing tack.

After its win in two Assembly by-elections and impressive performance in Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation (GHMC) polls, the BJP had replaced Congress as the main political opposition.

Before elections in the neighbouring state, the BJP was in an aggressive mode in Telangana but the poll drubbing has dealt a blow to the party’s morale.

The BJP, which has been trying to project itself as the only viable alternative to BRS over the last couple of years, now appears to be on the backfoot.

The infighting in the saffron party has dealt another blow to its confidence.

Political observers say that leaders who quit BRS or were expelled from the party in recent times may now prefer Congress over BJP in the changing political dynamics in the state.

Till the 2019 Lok Sabha polls, KCR used to dismiss BJP as a non-existing force in state politics. However, by winning four Lok Sabha seats out of 17 seats in the state, the BJP made its presence felt. The win in two Assembly by-elections had further bolstered it.

Courtesy: IANS

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