Highlights

  • KCR renames Telangana Rashtra Samithi
  • TRS now called Bharat Rashtra Samithi
  • KCR preparing for a larger role in national politics?

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Telangana Rashtra Samithi to Bharat Rashtra Samithi: will KCR’s name-change gamble pay off?

Some political pundits see it as a move that could help increase Telangana chief minister's stature nationally, while others fear it could turn into a misadventure.

In a politically-significant development in the regional political landscape, the two-decade-old Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) was rechristened Wednesday as Bharat Rashtra Samithi (BRS), with an aim to establish K Chandrashekar Rao’s as a national leader.

The Telangana Chief Minister's attempt to catapult his party to the centre stage of national politics by renaming it is being watched by political pundits. Some see it as a move that could help increase his stature nationally, while others fear it could turn into a misadventure.

The name change resolution was passed by the party general body meeting in Hyderabad as party workers cheered and banners with slogans like "Desh ka neta KCR," "Dear India, he is coming", and "KCR is on the way" were prominently displayed around the venue of the meeting.

Several analysts also surmise the idea as an exercise to fortify his party base in the state -- where the BJP is making inroads and intensifying political activity ahead of 2023 assembly polls -- by shifting focus to national issues.

However, a big question remains whether TRS -- founded in 2001 with a single-point agenda of creating a separate Telangana state -- will manage to capture any space in national politics; whether KCR’s leadership will be accepted in other states, especially in the north.

KCR is not a politician who does things without a reason. His plan to enter national politics stems from his ambition to fill a vacuum caused by a lack of formidable opposition to the BJP-led ruling National Democratic Alliance at the centre, said a political analyst.

In addition, the 68-year-old leader of Telangana believes his party’s success in winning the support of women, farmers, and marginalised groups with several welfare schemes.

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Some of the major schemes are: 'Rythu Bandhu' which takes care of the initial investment needs of every farmer; ‘Dalit Bandhu’ --under which one-time capital assistance of Rs 10 lakh is provided for every SC family to set up a suitable income-generating business; ‘KCR Kit’, a Rs 12,000 aid for pregnant women to take care of herself and the newborn child and 'Aasara' pensions to all the poor.

In renaming TRS and repositioning it as a "national" party, KCR is also eyeing a pole position in opposition politics ahead of the 2024 Lok Sabha elections.

As the main opposition Congress party struggles to reverse its slide in the country’s electoral politics, major regional parties across the country are trying to forge a united front that can take on the ruling BJP. KCR, who has long championed the idea of a non-Congress, non-BJP opposition, would want to play a pivotal role in such an alliance.

However, not all share that optimism. M Kodandaram, the founder of Telangana Jana Samithi and political analyst, feels:"It is for the first time, a state-recognised party like TRS is renaming itself as BRS. It is going to be a misadventure".

He further added that Telugu Desam Party (TDP), which had a strong presence in united Andhra Pradesh, is a registered national party but has not made any headway at the national level and a similar case is with the AIMIM, which is primarily based in the city of Hyderabad. Both TDP and AIMIM did not rename their parties, he added.

"KCR has an identity as chief minister at the national level, but it is not sufficient to build a national party”, he observed.

As BJP intensifies its political activity in the state, KCR wants to divert focus on national issues, another analyst said.

It is a "gamble" that he is plunging directly into the national arena, the analyst from the well-known Kautilya Institute of Public Policy (KIPP) said on condition of anonymity.

Given that the country’s politics changed after the 1980s with the emergence of regional forces, parties like SP, BSP, RJD, JD(U), DMK and others have been playing a national role either through alliance building or by forming pressure groups.

KCR is trying to work on the sentiment that individually the small regional parties have not been able to assert themselves effectively at the national level but collectively they can and will replace the traditional Opposition to become a formidable opposition.

In the recent past, KCR has met several regional party leaders including JD(S) chief H D Deve Gowda, NCP’s Sharad Pawar, TMC’s Mamata Banerjee, AAP’s Arvind Kejriwal and others, and has been rooting for a ‘non-BJP, non-Congress’ alliance.

However, most of these parties have maintained that there cannot be any united opposition without the Congress as it may end up only helping BJP.

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