KCR’s son and IT minister KT Rama Rao talks to CNN-News18’s Marya Shakil about the grand alliance of opposition parties in Telangana, a tie-up with BJP and a larger role at the Centre.
The state of Telangana will go to polls in Decemeber this year, for the first time since its formation. The ruling TRS is the party in focus and its charismatic chief K Chandrashekar Rao is leaving no stone unturned to win this time. KCR’s son and IT minister KT Rama Rao talks to CNN-News18’s Marya Shakil about the grand alliance of opposition parties in Telangana, a tie-up with BJP and a larger role at the Centre
Interviwer : Joining me right now is TRS leader and IT minister KT Rama Rao. Thank you so much for your time here. So, this is the first Assembly election in Telangana ever since the state was carved out. Most of the surveys are showing it is the advantage to your father (KCR). The move of advancing elections has worked or is working on ground.
KTR: Well, if we look at what has happened in Telangana in last four years, every single election that has taken place in the state, the TRS has won extremely convincingly. Starting from the Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation polls, which is considered a mini-general elections of sort, we have won that very convincingly and this election in 2018 doesn’t appear different with TRS clearly ahead. Seven surveys have come out in last two months and each and every one has shown that the TRS will win with at least two- thirds majority. We are very confident.
There is grand alliance called ‘Mahakutami’ which is taking you on. It has Congress, TDP, CPI, Telangana Jan Samiti while you are going it alone, are you confident that your strategy of going alone will help you?
KTR: Let me point out that in 2014 we had won the election with majority . This time around it is no different. Even in the last election, the Congress had an alliance with CPI and other parties but this time even the Telugu Desam has joined its alliance. That is why we call it ‘Maha Ghatiya Bandhan’ there is no fundamental basis, no base on which this alliance can base itself. It is only power mongering and opportunistic alliance. I or people of Telangana don’t see any logic any convincing rationale for this alliance. We are very confident by (going for) this alliance, the Congress has shot itself in the foot and in fact this alliance bundled with contradictions will cost them dear.
We are also seeing that the alliance in Telangana is playing out at the national level. In fact, Chandrababu Naidu is today meeting MK Stalin. When we look at opposition unity and anti-Modi front, let’s not forget that in March your father had made that call for all non-Congress, non-BJP parties to come together. At that time, Naidu had shown inclination towards that, Mamata Banerjee had also approved , what exactly is the status of that third front or federal front?
KTR: The stand is very clear, the so called national parties both the BJP and the Congress have failed our nation. Even after 71 years of Independence there are still many issues plaguing this nation, there are many issues that haven’t been resolved by any of these coalitions. What we want is more powers to the state, more federal approach not just lip sympathy just calling it cooperative federalism or competitive federalism. If really India has to progress and grow and emerge as a very strong nation, the state has to be empowered and that is exactly why the idea of federal front was rooted by our leader KCR. Now what Chandrababu Naidu and other parties are up to is none of our concern. We hope to win this election in December convincingly and then we will start focusing on national politics and we will start making our moves after December 11.
So are saying there will be another attempt at federal front post December?
KTR: Absolutely. In fact, our CM and our leader is extremely clear that both the national parties have failed this nation and this country needs more stronger regional forces which can come together and can assure the true federal spirit which will lead to a strong nation from such combination
Who will stand with you as far as an anti-Modi bloc is concerned that is formalising and taking shape. We are seeing Sharad Pawar, Chandrababu Naidu, Mamata Banerjee, Akhilesh Yadav, who really would be a part of the federal front?
KTR: Trust me, the world is not as simple as it seems and there isn’t only a bipolar kind of situation that it is only UPA or NDA. There will be a third front, there will be a coalition of likeminded parties which will emerge because we still have a long way to go for national elections. We are right now focusing on just state elections but after this you will see a lot of things happening in January and February
But it doesn’t look like that Chandrababu Naidu is concentrating on state elections that is due in a month’s time , why do you think he has gone in for such coalition in state and taking you on with help of the Congress.
KTR: Desperate times call for desperate measures and Chandrababu Naidu ‘s party faces extinction threat in Telangana so therefore he is merely trying to assert himself and retain a seat or two in Telangana by way of this alliance. His party will be decimated in Telangana. His party is set for an extinction so it’s a desperate time for Mr Naidu. It’s a desperate gamble to try and cook up a coalition which has no fundamental basis whatsoever.
There is speculation that your father had kept the central leadership of the BJP in the loop when he went for dissolution of the Assembly. So, is Mr KCR going to be part of the NDA before or after 2019?
KTR: Let me put it this way, speculate as you may, speculate as anybody wants to, the fact is clear that we are an independent party we are not part of the UPA or the NDA. We have no friendship or liking for any of the national parties which we have consistently maintained. So to accuse us or speculate that we are going to sail with the BJP is nothing but humbug and you will see our efforts. You will see our efforts to actually bring viable alternative to the NDA and the UPA after December11, and you will see it yourself.
Last question, can you assure the people of Telangana that you are not going to support the BJP before 2019 and these are only rumours and speculations?
KTR: Like I said, absolutely without a question because there is no way our ideology can compel us to come together. We have a very different view from the BJP on this country, on our state. So there is no way we can work together and I can tell you for sure that Telangana Rashtra Samiti which is going to sweep the upcoming Assembly elections, we will also win at least 15 parliamentary seats in Telangana in 2019. We will have a very important role to play in Delhi. Any political party in India which thinks like us and agree with us and have a common fundamental basis in the core belief that the true federalism means empowering states. So we believe very strongly that a few regional parties coming together can certainly dictate who will be in driver’s seat in Delhi after April 2019 and you will see TRS playing a very important role there but i can assure you that it is neither going to be the BJP nor the Congress which will be in driver’s seat in Delhi.
Disclaimer: RSS has been taken from their official website.