KCR preps for national role ahead of LS polls

KCR meets Stalin, triggers talk of non-BJP, non-Congress alliance

CHENNAI: Telangana Chief Minister K. Chandrashekar Rao called on his Tamil Nadu counterpart M.K. Stalin here at his residence for over half an hour on Tuesday. He was accompanied by his wife Shobha. Telangana Rashtra Samiti (TRS) working president and minister K.T. Rama Rao, his wife and two children were also present on the occasion.

Chandrashekar Rao, along with his family members, was on a visit to the Sriranganathaswamy temple in Srirangam where the annual Vaikunta Ekadasi festival is going on.

Though the meeting was termed as a ‘courtesy call’ by Rao, it is rumoured the two Chief Ministers are planning to fight against the BJP in the 2024 elections together and are taking steps to form a coalition government after the elections.

The meeting triggered speculations about the formation of a grand alliance ahead of the 2024 Lok Sabha elections with the view to preventing the BJP from returning to power.

An attempt by Rao to garner support from the DMK to form a non-Congress and non-BJP government in New Delhi in 2019 was not reciprocated favourably by Stalin as his party had contested the elections as an ally of the Congress and he too had projected Rahul Gandhi as the prime ministerial candidate.

Earlier, in 2018, when Stalin was the working president of the DMK, Rao called on him at his residence in preparation for the 2019 elections. In that meeting over lunch, Rao and Stalin even called Trinamul Congress president Mamata Banerjee over phone and had a conversation with her.

But this time, the meeting assumes more significance since Rao is said to be more serious about bringing all political forces opposed to the BJP under one umbrella and putting up a united electoral fight against the BJP.

With just over two years left for the next Lok Sabha polls, many political leaders are getting ready to defeat the BJP by striking alliances with various regional parties across the country and forming a front at the national level and Rao is one of them.

Rao, who is reportedly feeling intimidated by the BJP’s political foray in Telangana, which was considered as the fortress of his Telangana Rashtra Samiti (TRS), is now said to be more determined to bring every party under a single umbrella in what he perceives as a do or die battle. But it is not clear if he is still keen on keeping the Congress out of the alliance or not. Perhaps he does not mind joining hands with the Congress at the national level though at his home turf the TRS and Congress are opposed to each other.

Meanwhile, sources said the two Chief Ministers also had other things to discuss during the short meeting. Issues like linking of rivers the Godavari and the Cauvery and formulating a future strategy to demand more rights for states also figured in the meeting, they said.

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