Chief Minister K. Chandrashekar Rao. (File Photo: Twitter)
HYDERABAD: Chief Minister K. Chandrashekar Rao is understood to be considering staying away from the Presidential election in July in the event of failing to build consensus among regional parties on fielding a joint candidate against the National Democratic Alliance (NDA), according to sources in the TRS.
Chandrashekar Rao has been attempting to convince regional parties to field a joint Opposition candidate. He personally met leaders of regional parties over the past few months by visiting states such as Delhi and Karnataka.
Chandrashekar Rao met JD(S) leaders H.D. Deve Gowda and H.D. Kumaraswamy in Bengaluru, AAP president and Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal and Samajwadi Party chief Akhilesh Yadav in Delhi, Jharkhand Chief Minister Hemanth Soren in Ranchi, Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddav Thakeray and NCP chief Sharad Pawar in Mumbai and RJD chief Tejashwi Yadav in Hyderabad.
He also spoke to Trinamul president and West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee and DMK supremo and Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M.K. Stalin over phone to discuss the Presidential election.
The BJP-led NDA, on the other hand, already initiated talks with regional parties including YSRC in Andhra Pradesh and the BJD in Odisha to seek their support for the NDA in the Presidential election. Indications are that both YSRC and BJD were keen to sail with the NDA.
The NDA already has an edge in the Presidential election and the support of YSRC and BJD will make this election a cakewalk.
Against this backdrop, Chandrashekar Rao reportedly had lost hopes of giving a tough fight to the NDA. In the previous Presidential election in July 2017, the TRS supported NDA candidate Ram Nath Kovind.
Kovind's five-year tenure is set to end on July 25 and with only a month left to contest the election, Chandrashekar Rao wants to make a final attempt by visiting West Bengal and Bihar to meet Mamata Banerjee and Nitish Kumar and attempt to field a joint candidate.
Although Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar's JD(U) is in alliance with the BJP, there is a track record of Nitish Kumar supporting rival parties in Presidential elections. In 2012, Nitish, despite being a part of the NDA then, had supported UPA’s Presidential nominee Pranab Mukherjee. In 2017, Nitish Kumar had supported the NDA's Kovind despite being a part of UPA then.