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Regional Parties Could Form Government, Get NDA Or INDIA’s Support: KCR

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Making a stunning claim, Bharat Rashtra Samithi chief and former Telangana chief minister K Chandrashekar Rao has said a group of regional parties could form a government and the NDA or INDIA alliances may end up having to support them, instead of the other way around. 

In an expansive interview with NDTV on Friday, Mr Rao, or KCR as he is popularly known, also spoke about how his party is far from finished and will get seats in the double digits out of the 17 constituencies in Telangana. He also answered questions about the BJP’s prospects, the “failure” of the Congress government in the state, and the arrest of his daughter K Kavitha in the alleged Delhi liquor policy scam.

Addressing a rally for sitting MP and one of the candidates in the Lok Sabha polls, Nama Nageswara Rao, the BRS chief had said Mr Nageswara Rao could end up being a Union minister. 

When he was asked about this and whether he would support the NDA or the INDIA bloc, KCR said, “I will tell you a surprising thing which you may not believe. This time, something new is going to happen in the country. All the regional parties are very strong now. They will emerge as a force. It’s not the regional parties supporting NDA or INDIA. It’s nothing like that. Either of them will have to support the regional parties’ group. It will be a reverse thing. You will see it.”

Mr Rao’s party had won nine out of the 17 Lok Sabha seats in Telangana in 2019 and he was the chief minister of the state for nearly a decade since its formation in 2014. But, since the Congress’ big victory in the Assembly elections last year – it won 64 of the state’s 119 seats, securing a majority on its own – there has been talk of the BRS’ star being on the wane, which has been reinforced by several leaders deserting the party.

To a poser on this, Mr Rao said the Congress has not fulfilled the promises it had made in the six months it has been in power and people are angry with the Revanth Reddy government. 

“The only promise they have delivered is free bus (tickets) for the woman. Even that has become a big joke. Women are fighting in the buses and auto drivers are (protesting) on the roads. That’s the reason people are very angry. The farming community, which got a lot of confidence during my regime, is also very angry. And I think the reflection will be seen in the Lok Sabha elections,” he said, adding that his party will get seats in the double digits, going up to 12.

On whether he thought people defeated his government because they were angry with him and believed the parties who said he was inaccessible, Mr Rao replied in the negative and said that people had got stable supply of power, drinking water and water for irrigation under his government and had been “tempted” by the Congress’ promises. 

“They made very, very attractive promises. The (vote share) margin between the Congress and BRS was 1.8%. We won about one-third seats of the state Assembly, which is not a small thing. It was not a rout… It was a small thing where the people, out of temptation and because they believed that Congress may deliver more than KCR… we were defeated. Now everyone has realised the Congress has failed to deliver and has cheated them,” he claimed. 

‘Sunflowers’ In Politics

Many candidates from the BJP and the Congress for the Lok Sabha polls were with the BRS earlier, and Mr Rao had a quip reserved for them: “Only a handful of people went out of the party… In politics, it is common that whenever power shifts, there are a certain number of sunflowers in each party… they will turn towards the sun and leave the party.”

The BJP had won 4 seats in Telangana in the 2019 general elections and the party has claimed that it will enter the double digits in the state this time. When he was asked to comment on this, Mr Rao said, “The BJP is running a Goebbels campaign. The BJP will get only one or none in Telangana in these Lok Sabha elections.”

The former chief minister asserted that the BJP, which had won only 29 seats out of 130 (including Puducherry) in south India in 2019, would not win more than 10 this time, and that the NDA would be reduced to just 226 seats nationally. 

“The Prime Minister has lost his charisma. People have realised it. The value of the Rupee has gone down to its lowest level and there is a capital drain from India now. Farmers are angry, many others are angry,” he claimed. 

K Kavitha Arrest

On the arrest of his daughter and BRS leader K Kavitha by the Enforcement Directorate in the Delhi liquor policy scam on March 15, Mr Rao said the BJP had done that because he had taken action against people who were trying to topple his government in Telangana.

Referring to a case filed against BJP National General Secretary BL Santhosh for allegedly poaching BRS MLAs, he said, “I was the first chief Minister in India who vehemently opposed Mr Modi and many of his policies… I sent my police forces to the central office of the BJP in Delhi to catch BL Santhosh. That angered the BJP. That’s why they arrested Kavitha in a false case.”

“Ultimately, we believe in the judiciary. Today, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal got bail, I think my daughter will also get bail. The Delhi liquor policy scam is not a scam. Every state has a liquor policy… not a single rupee was recovered… they are playing a drama with my daughter and also Arvind Kejriwal,” he asserted. 

Revanth Reddy In BJP?

Asked about his son and former minister KT Rama Rao’s statement that Congress leader and Telangana chief minister Revanth Reddy would switch to the BJP, KCR said this was evident in how he had called Prime Minister Narendra Modi his big brother at an event in the state. 

“He had said we need your (PM Modi’s) support going forward as well. What does it mean? He is accepting that Rahul Gandhi will not become Prime Minister. Revanth Reddy is in trouble, he is facing the (2015) vote-for-note case and I think that is coming to an end in June or July. Even people from the Congress are thinking he may jump to the BJP,” he said.

Mr Rao denied allegations of involvement in the phone-tapping scandal that has rocked the state and said it was completely in the police’s domain. He also called the allegations of corruption in the Kaleshwaram lift irrigation project “senseless” and termed it a “marvel”.

On the PM saying that reservation to Muslims based on religion is not allowed under the Constitution, Mr Rao said, “Whether the Constitution allows it is an academic subject. But as far as I’m concerned, whether it is a Muslim or Hindu or whatever, people who did not get their share, people who are still poor, who deserve reservation, must get reservation. It’s not a fair thing on the part of the Government of India… and the Prime Minister talking about it.. it looks very silly. It’s not correct.”

​Making a stunning claim, BRS chief and former Telangana chief minister K Chandrashekar Rao has said a group of regional parties could form a government and the NDA or INDIA alliances may end up having to support them. 

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