Exclusive: Did KCR try to form government in Telangana through back door?

Sources confirmed that KCR explored the option of forming the government after the debacle in the Assembly elections in December last year.

ByVasu Gandikota

Published Apr 24, 2024 | 2:19 PMUpdatedApr 24, 2024 | 2:45 PM

BRS chief K Chandrashekar Rao at an election rally in Sultanpur in the Sangareddy district on Tuesday, 16 April, 2024.

Did former Telangana chief minister K Chandrashekar Rao explore the option of forming the government after the BRS’ debacle in the Assembly elections in December last year, a result that he had not foreseen?

Exclusive information gathered from authoritative sources by South First confirms an affirmative answer to the question.

Following the elections, Chandrashekar Rao’s (KCR) BRS ended up with only 39 out of the 119 seats in the Telangana Assembly, a sharp drop from the 88 it had won in 2018, excluding the over a dozen MLAs of the Congress who joined the pink party after the election.

In 2023, the Congress managed to secure 64 seats, a few more than the halfway mark. The BJP notched eight, up from just one in 2018, while the Majlis (AIMIM) retained its count of seven. The CPI, an ally of Congress, got one seat.

Also Read: Revanth challenges KCR to disband BRS if loan waiver promise is fulfilled

The coup attempt

Within a few hours after the results were declared, KCR vacated his official residence and drove to his farmhouse on the outskirts of Hyderabad.

It was from there that he reportedly dialled a few prominent leaders to pick their minds about whether they would support the BRS in mustering the numbers required to form the government.

Even before the results were declared, the buzz in Hyderabad was that KCR had his “men” in Congress and would get their support if neither party got enough majority.

BRS was also banking on support from both the Majlis and the BJP, one of which being part of the government and the other offering crutches from outside.

In the end, the Congress moved past the magic figure pouring cold water on the hopes of KCR and his followers.

The forewarning

One leader who KCR spoke to late at night on 3 December 2023 (results day) declined to come on board for any such adventure on the ground that the Congress won the mandate from the people and it should be respected.

To KCR’s suggestion that at least a dozen Congress MLAs, if not more, were ready to switch sides if BRS made an attempt to form the government, the leader in question replied that it was unlikely to happen.

He reasoned that, at best, the Congress legislators would utilise the BRS’ bait to get a better bargain from their party leadership.

Cut back to now, KCR has not given up that hope yet.

Also Read: Komatireddy Venkat Reddy predicts that BRS would draw a blank in LS polls

Denial or confidence?

It was evident from his comments during an interview with a Telugu channel, TV 9, on 23 April, when he claimed again that 20-25 Congress MLAs are in touch with his party leaders and are encouraging BRS to form the government.

The thought that it amounts to making a mockery of the people’s verdict is apparently not dawning on him.

However, the reality is different. Four BRS legislators pledged loyalty to Congress since the elections.

More are expected to desert the pink party post-Lok Sabha elections in which the BRS is not expected to put up a good performance. With surveys indicating a huge drop in its vote share, the party is in the contest in only about 5-6 out of 17 Lok Sabha seats in the state.

KCR still believing and continuing to claim that the BRS will win 8-12 seats in the Lok Sabha elections is perhaps an indication that he is in denial.

The truth is that if the party’s vote share goes down to less than 30 percent in the general election, which is more than likely, it will be a “start from scratch” process for the BRS.

Whether KCR and other party leaders have the energy to embark on the rebuilding exercise is the question. Daydreaming doesn’t help.

(Edited by Muhammed Fazil)