Opposition candidate Yashwant Sinha with NCP Chief Sharad Pawar, Congress leaders Rahul Gandhi & Mallikarjun Kharge, SP leader Akhilesh Yadav and other opposition leaders, during the filing of his nomination papers for presidential election, at Parliament House in New Delhi, Monday, June 27, 2022. (PTI Photo/Shahbaz Khan
HYDERABAD: Telangana Rashtra Samiti (TRS) working president K.T. Rama Rao attending the filing of the nomination of Yashwant Sinha for the Presidential election along with Congress leaders Rahul Gandhi, Mallikarjun Kharge, Jairam Ramesh etc created a buzz in the TRS and political circles on Monday. This is for the first time that a TRS leader shared a platform with Congress leaders since the formation of Telangana state in 2014.
This triggered a debate in the TRS circles that the TRS and the Congress would join hands in future too to prevent the BJP from coming to power in Telangana in the event of upcoming Assembly elections scheduled for 2023 forcing a hung assembly. The BJP has emerged as a strong political force in Telangana after 2019 Lok Sabha polls with the party winning four Lok Sabha seats, clinching two Assembly seats from the TRS in Dubbak and Huzurabad bypolls in 2020 and 2021 and giving a tough fight to the TRS in GHMC polls in 2020.
Although Rama Rao was not seen greeting or speaking to Rahul in the visuals shown during the event, it failed to douse the speculations. Rama Rao was seen sitting to the left of Yashwant Sinha after NCP chief Sharad Pawar and SP chief Akhilesh Yadav in the front row while Rahul was seen to the right of Sinha.
TRS president K. Chandrashekar Rao, along with his entire family members, met UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi in Delhi soon after AP Reorganisation Bill was passed during Congress-led UPA regime in both Houses of the Parliament in 2014 paving way for the creation of Telangana state.
However, the TRS and the Congress turned bitter political rivals soon after the former came to power in Telangana in June 2014. Several Congress MLAs and MLCs defected to the TRS soon after 2014 and 2018 Assembly polls due to which Congress lost its main Opposition status in both Legislative Assembly and Council.
The political rivalry between the TRS and the Congress escalated further after the Congress high command appointed firebrand leader A. Revanth Reddy as Telangana Pradesh Congress Committee (TPCC) president in June last year.
Congress leader Rahul Gandhi recently addressed a huge public meeting in Warangal in which he lashed out at Chandrashekar Rao and his family members as 'most corrupt' and vowed to dethrone the TRS government in 2023 Assembly polls. Against this backdrop, Chandrashekar Rao skipped the meeting of non-BJP parties organised by West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee in Delhi last month to discuss fielding a joint Opposition candidate for Presidential election on the ground that the Congress was also invited for this meeting and TRS did not want to share any platform with the Congress.
However, the TRS decided to extend support to joint Opposition candidate Yashwant Sinha in the Presidential election soon after, who is also backed by the Congress, on the request of NCP chief Sharad Pawar.
However, Rama Rao dismissed reports of the TRS joining hands with the Congress while addressing a press conference in Delhi on Monday. When reporters raised this question, he replied, "How can you say the TRS joined hands with the Congress just because we attended Yashwant Sinha's nomination programme? We have attended the meeting of Opposition parties and not the meeting of the Congress.
There were several other leaders from other parties like NCP, SP etc who attended this programme and the TRS was one among them."