The Chief Minister of Telangana and TRS supremo K Chandrashekhar Rao certainly had a reason to explain for encouraging defections form opposition parties during his first innings . One might have agreed with it or not. But, it was certainly a reason to put forth.
The TRS won by a slender margin in 2014. Indian polity is replete with examples of how governments running on wafer thin margin were destabilised by the rival political forces This happens more when the party that wants to topple the government is in power at the centre. The Congress that emerged as the main opposition was ousted from power at the centre and lost the ammunition to engineer any political coup against KCR government. Yet, KCR could successfully sell the theory of conspiracy to defend his policy of operation aakarsh post 2014. The other argument was to defend the Telangana experiment. KCR said that the forces opposed to the formation of separate state were hell-bent on establishing that the experiment of Telangana would not succeed and the state urgently needs a political realignment to disprove this thesis. Thus, the thesis on defections was sentimental. KCR has even invoked the name of MIM chief Owaisi to claim that the MP had cautioned him from Delhi that such a conspiracy to destabilise his government was being hatched.
Notwithstanding the controversial policy of encouraging defections, KCR won with more convincing margin. Even the defected legislators were re-elected in 2018 Assembly elections, thus giving a stamp of approval for political defections. The electoral mandate clearly reveals that the people of Telangana have not taken the defections and the criticism around it not so seriously . There is a reason for this. No political party has the moral authority to questions KCR on defections. The congress is the creator of such a political culture. The grand old party is known for destabilising the rival party governments through defections. The Congress while in power encouraged defections from TRS , TDP etc. The TDP which questions KCR in Telangana strangely does the same in Andhra Pradesh where it is in power, in a more unabashed manner. Thus, the people seem to be not taking seriously this dirty political game.
Thus , KCR is motivated by the nature of political mandate to repeat the operation Aakarsh in his second innings too. He has more than required majority now. The TRS won 88 seats and its tally rose to 90 with two independents joining the ruling party. It has the support of seven MIM legislators taking the total support in 119 member Assembly to 97. Yet, the defections from Congress, TDP continue unabated. Ina bid to subvert the anti defections all, the TRS is targeting maximum number of Congress legislators so that it can provoke the provisions of the same law to claim that the Congress Legislature party merged with TRS, a mockery of the tenth schedule of the Constitution of India.
The objective of encouraging defections even after having more than convincing support in the legislature is to decimate the opposition . The TRS has a long term strategy of crippling the opposition so that it will not have any political dissent. The media is already servile to party in power not just in Telangana, elsewhere too in Indian democracy . The civil society is co-opted into the power apparatus. Thus with weakening of political opposition, the ruling party can completely choke the dissent. The immediate objective would be to sweep the Loksabha elections so that KCR can have leverage in national politics. The TRS could establish a winnable margin in as many as 14 out of 17 Loksabha segments during the recent Assembly polls except Khammam and Mahabubabad. The maximum defections are taking place in these two Loksabha segments revealing the short term objective of the defections .
The TRS also suspects that its MPs may also join Congress if denied re-nomination. Already K Visweshwar Reddy defected to Congress. The TRS through these defections is pre-empting any possible strike on it by the opposition.
( Prof.K. Nageshwar is India’s noted political analyst. He is a former member of the Telangana Legislative Council and professor in the Department of Communication & Journalism, Osmania University, Hyderabad, India