In a surprising shift in strategy, Telangana Chief Minister K. Chandrasekhar Rao has started singling out the Congress party for his attacks while sparing the BJP, which had been his main target for the last couple of years.
The speeches made by KCR at public meetings in Nirmal and Nagarkurnool districts this week have baffled the political circles as he went all out to attack Congress party but avoided criticizing the BJP.
The content and tone and tenor of his speeches indicate a shift in strategy ahead of Assembly elections, which are due to be held towards the end of 2023.
At both the public meetings, the Bharat Rashtra Samithi (BRS) chief slammed the Congress party and called on the people to throw the party in Bay of Bengal. Not long ago, KCR was using the same words for the BJP.
With the Congress leaders promising that if the party is voted to power it will abolish Dharani portal, KCR is hitting back at the grand old party. “Those talking of throwing Dharani portal in the Bay of Bengal should be thrown in Bay of Bengal,” he said at the public meeting in Nagarkurnool on June 6.
The BRS government had brought the Dharani portal in 2020 as a one-stop solution for all land records under large-scale reforms in the revenue system. The Congress party, however, claims that Dharani added to the problems of land owners, especially farmers.
KCR at his public meeting at Nagarkurnool launched an all-out attack on Congress saying by repealing Dharani it wants to bring back the regime of middlemen and corruption in the revenue administration.
The BRS chief, however, was silent on BJP, whose leaders are equally critical of Dharani. Union minister for tourism and culture G. Kishan Reddy had said last month that KCR family and BRS were looting people using Dharani portal.
At most of his public meetings over the last two years, KCR minced no words to attack BJP and Prime Minister Narendra Modi over a host of issues ranging from hate politics to discrimination against Telangana. His silence on BJP at the public meetings raised eyebrows in political circles.
It is not clear what prompted this change in strategy by the BRS chief. The development is significant as it comes days after the Congress party stormed to power in neighbouring Karnataka.
The result pumped new enthusiasm in the Congress party and its leaders claimed that the outcome will be repeated in Telangana.
KCR’s son and BRS working president K.T. Rama Rao has stated that the Karnataka poll result will have no bearing on Telangana.
While the BRS leaders are publicly denying that the Karnataka outcome will have no impact on Telangana, the ruling appears to be wary of a rejuvenated Congress.
Political analysts say that changed political equations in the wake of BJP’s poll debacle in Karnataka may have led to KCR changing tack.
After its win in two Assembly by-elections and impressive performance in Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation (GHMC) polls, the BJP had replaced Congress as the main political opposition.
Before elections in the neighbouring state, the BJP was in an aggressive mode in Telangana but the poll drubbing has dealt a blow to the party’s morale.
The BJP, which has been trying to project itself as the only viable alternative to BRS over the last couple of years, now appears to be on the backfoot.
The infighting in the saffron party has dealt another blow to its confidence.
Political observers say that leaders who quit BRS or were expelled from the party in recent times may now prefer Congress over BJP in the changing political dynamics in the state.
Till 2019 Lok Sabha polls, KCR used to dismiss BJP as a non-existing force in state politics. However, by winning four Lok Sabha seats out of 17 seats in the state, the BJP made its presence felt. The win in two Assembly by-elections had further bolstered it.
There is also a view that KCR’s change of tack may be a strategy to ignore BJP and create a narrative that Congress will be the main opponent for TRS in the ensuing elections.
Last week, KTR had remarked during an interaction with journalists that BJP has no presence in society and that it is only present on social media.