DC Edit | Fuse BRS into larger narrative
DECCAN CHRONICLE | DC Correspondent
At a time that the Aam Aadmi Party, with governments in two states and well over the vote share and MLAs needed in a third, has won the label of a national party, after having spent a little over a decade since its formation, the Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) has also stated its ambition to shed the tag of a regional party and go national. It has applied for and got the permission of the Election Commission to change its name to Bharat Rashtra Samithi (BRS), but will retain its identifying colour of pink and its party symbol of a car.
But unlike in the case of the AAP, there are several legitimate questions that the TRS has not yet clearly answered, including whether it would contest elections in different states on its own merit, or slowly become part of a larger narrative based on ideology or pragmatic politics.
The only irrefutable conclusion that could be made with certainty is that the BRS, which is fighting to retain its power in the state of Telangana against an increasingly belligerent BJP, will largely be on the "secular" side of national politics. But it cannot, at least for now, ally with the Congress Party. The Congress is also a rival in state politics, and the BRS must be seen as equidistant to both the Congress and the BJP, till the time the elections to the state Assembly are over.
But the BRS, beyond its tactical positioning as a "farmer-friendly" government or talk of development, jobs and a minimum standard of living for all Indians, must fuse itself into a larger narrative to acquire any worthwhile traction outside its own state. The party is seen as being friendly with a few leaders, including the H.D. Kumaraswamy-led JD(S) in Karnataka and the Akhilesh Yadav-led SP in Uttar Pradesh.
For Telangana chief minister K. Chandrashekar Rao to be able to make any national impact, he must be willing to fuse his vision into a larger whole to have a shot at success against the juggernaut of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the BJP.