The Karnataka elections drove KCR into a typical Hamletian dilemma of to be or not to be . The JD(S) leader, HD Kumara Swamy invited a host of non BJP leaders including his ally Congress for the swearing in ceremony. The Congress and several parties opposed to BJP find it as an opportunity to galvanise the anti Modi forces in the run up to 2019 general elections.
The Telangana chief Minister who earlier mooted a non-congress and non-BJP front of regional parties found the Karnataka polls as an opportunity to pitch his idea of federal front as strongly as possible. The Janata Dal (S) which was then fighting both the Congress and the BJP was the obvious choice of TRS chief to seek the support for his idea. KCR flew to Bengaluru to deliberate with HD Deve Gowda and HD Kumara Swamy and appealed to telugu voters in Karnataka to vote for JD(S) as it stood against both the Congress and the BJP.
But, the post election arithmetic threw a different dynamics altogether much to the discomfiture of KCR. The JD(S) suddenly plunged into an alliance with the Congress conveniently dropping the idea of a front equidistant from both the Congress and BJP into the Krishna Raja Sagara dam.
Thus, KCR was confronted with a dilemma on whether or not to be part of a grand show of parties opposed to BJP. There are arguments for and against KCR joining the Bengaluru show.
KCR supported JD(S) in the pre-poll scenario and cannot disassociate with the ceremony that installs a regional party leader as the chief minister. Despite the presence of Congress , KCR by attending this programme can reach out to several regional parties that are taking part in this grand show of strength . The JD(S) instead of succumbing to Congress has made the latter to agree to its conditions and thereby it is the celebration of the power of regional politics which KCR cherishes.
For that matter , not just the JD(S ) even the parties like the DMK, JMM or TMC or SP whose leaders KCR met are either part of Congress led combine or not averse to any alliance with the grand old party . If KCR distances with the crowning of JD(S) leader citing the presence of Congress leaders, it would be difficult for KCR to really find a party that would oppose both congress and the BJP under any circumstances.
On the contrary, Congress is his principal rival in Telangana politics. Though it is the crowning of Kumara Swamy, the fact remains that the government is a joint venerate of Congress and JD(S ) and the former is the main partner. The Karnataka episode is validation of the fact that no regional front is possible on its own and no credible anti BJP front is possible without the presence of Congress. Sharing the platform with congress would send wrong signals to his constituency back home. KCR cannot do anything that strengthens the image of congress and increases the proximity between Congress and the regional parties.
Given this dilemma , the shrewd politician in KCR found an interesting way out. He flew to Bengaluru a day before and congratulated Kumara Swamy to send a message that he is firm in uniting the like minded regional parties. At the same time citing the reasons like collectors meet , he chose to keep himself away from a show that would certainly feature Congress significantly . Collectors meet can be postponed by one day and it is in the hands of the chief minister. None can believe it to be a true reason for not attending Bengaluru celebrations. But, this is perhaps, the only way out given the political compulsions for KCR in the state of Telangana.
( 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 )
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