2019 Lok Sabha elections: How KCR and Mamta Bannerjee are stirring the political cauldron – What we know so far

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New Delhi | Updated: December 24, 2018 10:55:55 PM

Telangana Chief Minister and TRS president K Chandrashekar Rao held a meeting with his counterpart in West Bengal for a possible formation of a non-Congress, non-BJP Federal Front.

Telangana Chief Minister and TRS president K Chandrashekar Rao held a meet with his West Bengal counterpart Mamta Banerjee and told that the talks over the formation of a federal front for the upcoming 2019 General Assembly elections will continue. The chief of the Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) also said that the dialogue will materialise into something concrete towards a non-BJP, non-Congress front.

After meeting the Trinamool Congress (TMC) president, Banerjee, at the state secretariat in Kolkata told the media, “Our dialogue will continue, very shortly we will come out with a concrete plan. We are discussing things. I will continue with my efforts.

This comes a day after the TRS chief held a meeting with Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik and three days after Mamta Bannerjee met National Conference chief Farooq Abdullah in Kolkata on December 21. Standing alongside Odisha CM Patnaik after the meeting, KCR told reporters that he was certain that there was a “dire need” for the union of the regional parties in India and that he strongly feels that an alternative to the Congress and the BJP is possible.

Can KCR’s “Alternative Front And Bannerjee’s ‘Third Front’ find common ground?

Banerjee, on her part, too has been a very vocal supporter of the regional parties playing a bigger role on the national stage. Since 2017, the TMC chief has held meetings with several opposition leaders that include President of NCP, Sharad Pawar as well as AAP chief Arvind Kejriwal and Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray. Back in August, Banerjee had met a string of opposition leaders on her visit to Delhi.

In April 2018, DMK President M. K. Stalin had tweeted, “DMK has always stood for the unity of regional parties and stronger federal co-operation. I endorse the efforts of @MamataOfficial to bring together various political parties to oppose the autocratic and anti-democratic rule of the BJP.”
However, no other statement supporting further plans were made by DMK.

KCR’s move comes after his thumping victory in the recently concluded elections in the Assembly elections on December 11 in which he fought the BJP and the grand alliance led by the Congress with TDP, CPI and Telangana Jana Samithi (TJS). KCR had said that he will be floating a “non-Congress, non-BJP” federal front comprising regional parties.

Moreover, Banerjee was also one of the first leaders, Rao had met in March in Kolkata this year when he had proposed the idea of a ‘federal front’.

KCR’S Big Tour

More meetings are planned for the Telangana CM, who will be visiting Kalimata Temple and then leave for New Delhi to reportedly have separate meetings with both former Uttar Pradesh chief ministers – Mayawati of the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) and Akhilesh Yadav of the Samajwadi Party

The 64-year-old has reportedly hired a special aircraft for his “federal front”. In addition, he will be making a courtesy call on Prime Minister Narendra Modi and hold talks with some central ministers to discuss state-related matters.

Eye on National politics?

After taking the CM’s office for the second time in December 2018, KCR also appointed his only son, KT Rama Rao or KTR as the party’s working president, a move which many are seeing as KCR’s shifting focus from state to national politics.

This also marks the first time since 2001 that TRS has a working president.

KTR was re-elected to the Assembly from Sircilla constituency and was Minister for Industry and Information Technology in the previous cabinet. The new cabinet is expected to be announced soon. Political spectators are also speculating that KTR could be the next to occupy the CM’s chair.

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Similarly, Trinamool Congress Supremo Mamta Banerjee, who is also very vocal about a pan-India alliance of regional parties.

Senior Trinamool Congress leader Derek O’Brien told NDTV that when it comes to 2019 it is not surprising.

In May 2018, Bannerjee redistributed political responsibilities in the party organisation along three broad categories — national politics, state administration, and state-level party organisation, a Hindustan Times report said. In addition, the party is reportedly preparing its electoral plan with party MP Abhishek Banerjee, 31, who also happens to be her nephew in the forefront.

The 31-year-old is also the party’s youth wing chief and a member of the state committee. “In her absence, Abhishek Banerjee will take charge of Bengal,” Sonali Guha, deputy speaker of the state assembly was quoted as saying in the Hindustan Times report.

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