Telangana CM KCR with Arvind Kejriwal (Delhi), Bhagwant Mann (Punjab), P Viajayan (Kerala), Akhilesh Yadav, at the BRS party's rally. (Photo | PTI)
Telangana CM KCR with Arvind Kejriwal (Delhi), Bhagwant Mann (Punjab), P Viajayan (Kerala), Akhilesh Yadav, at the BRS party's rally. (Photo | PTI)

KCR prepares ground for ‘alternative’ politics with BRS

The other dimension of KCR’s BRS is his foray into Andhra, where he is seen, by and large, as the man who deprived the state of Hyderabad.

Your policy is privatisation, ours is nationalisation,” thundered K Chandrashekar Rao, Chief Minister of Telangana and head of the Bharat Rashtra Samithi (BRS), at the party’s foundation day meeting in Khammam. This statement gives us a peek into his yet-to-be-unrolled agenda. The event, attended by lakhs of people and three chief ministers—Kerala’s Pinarayi Vijayan, Delhi’s Arvind Kejriwal and Punjab’s Bhagwant Mann—besides Samajwadi Party’s Akhilesh Yadav and CPI leader D Raja, indicates the BRS chief’s future direction.

Going by the remarks of his son and IT Minister K T Rama Rao at Davos, we can assume KCR is aiming to craft a “socialist” agenda with a distinctive capitalist flavour. One may not be mistaken in believing that his idea of an alternative to the Modi government’s policies is different in degree, not in kind. Nonetheless, his announcements, such as the promise of free power supply across the country, show he could be stretching things a bit. Perhaps, he believes that good economics isn’t good politics in our country yet.

The BRS, of course, is still a regional party and has a long road ahead. Its economic policies wouldn’t immediately matter. We point at KCR’s economics because it could be an indicator of his future allies as he seeks to cross state borders. It is not by chance that Pinarayi and Raja were applauding him from the stage. If he manages to get the Left on his side, he could get that ideological heft, and backed with brand Hyderabad he may actually present a better picture than the Congress. Karnataka will be his first venture beyond Telangana, where he has sealed a deal with the JD(S).

The other dimension of KCR’s BRS is his foray into Andhra, where he is seen, by and large, as the man who deprived the state of Hyderabad. He has appointed a Kapu leader as the party’s state chief. If he can pull Kapu votes to some extent, he may spoil the party of Pawan Kalyan, another Kapu leader who is in alliance with the BJP and itching to shake hands with his old rival N Chandrababu Naidu. KCR may not be wrong in his calculations. After all, it isn’t very certain if Pawan has the support of a majority of Kapus, a numerically strong community but traditionally divided among different parties. If KCR succeeds in dividing Kapu votes, he could kill two birds with one stone.

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