BRS rests its guns against BJP. What is behind the sudden paradigm shift?

KTR said that the blind hatred for BJP and ousting Narendra Modi from power should not be the Opposition agenda.

ByRaj Rayasam

Published Jun 10, 2023 | 12:59 PMUpdatedJun 10, 2023 | 1:00 PM

BRS silent on BJP

The BRS guns targeting the BJP have fallen silent, and the sudden silence has flummoxed many in Telangana.

The party’s top guns, Chief Minister K Chandrashekar Rao, his children — IT Minister KT Rama Rao and MLC K Kavitha — and Finance Minister T Harish Rao, had never missed an opportunity to tear into the BJP for its “commissions and omissions”, dictatorial tendencies, and inimical and stepmotherly attitude towards Opposition-ruled states.

But now, they are silent, especially after KTR’s return from the US.

Related: Amid speculation of change in BJP, Eatala is in Delhi

Staying away from being ‘national’

The chief minister is no longer urging his audience to raise the slogan, Ab ki Bar Kisan ki Sarkar, after him, or highlighting the Telangana model of development.

None of the BRS leaders are now elaborating on how successive governments — the Congress and BJP — had put the development in reverse gear in the country with their skewed policies.

They used to exhort people to support a Kisan Sarkar that would build major irrigation projects to water parched fields and quench the thirst of villages across the nation. Not any more.

People used to hear BRS leaders asserting that the people should win the polls, implying that they should vote for the BRS, the only party that represents the people and would rise to their expectations.

There were also instances of KCR poking fun at Prime Minister Narendra Modi for inaugurating Vande Bharat trains one after the other —  not missing even one.

Also read: BJP leadership in a bind over keeping Telangana flock together

The beginning

The first indication of the paradigm shift in BRS strategy vis-à-vis the BJP came when KTR, after returning from the US recently, told reporters that the Opposition unity at the national level was not a priority for the party and that it could wait.

He had also said that the next chief minister of the state would be KCR, ruling out the possibility of his father rolling the dice at the national level to become the prime minister.

He pointed out that blind hatred towards the BJP, and moves to oust Narendra Modi from power should not be the Opposition agenda, clearly indicating why KCR had given up the efforts to bring all the Opposition parties under one umbrella.

The shift is part of the strategy for the Assembly elections in December. The question still remains: Is there a thaw in the frozen BRS-BJP relationship?

If it is not a cessation of hostilities, then the BRS’ sudden and deafening silence is intended to see that the Congress also rises as much as the BJP did in the recent past, so that the BRS would be in a sweet spot at the time of hustings as the ruling party leaders always believe that their party would be safe if the Opposition vote is split.

Also read: KCR has given up efforts to unite the Opposition, says KTR

The BRS-Congress rivalry

Since the beginning, it was no secret that the BRS wants to see the last of the Congress. It knows the Congress is hard to destroy.

During unfavorable circumstances, the Congress is known to go into hibernation and at the first sign of better days, it develops green sprouts very fast.

It explains why KCR had systematically destroyed the Congress by spiriting away 12 of its 19 MLAs and legalising the defection.

Ethically, it is still defection as those who “merged” with the BRS had won the polls on the Congress symbol.

He was not in need of MLAs since he himself had won 88 seats of the 119-member Assembly and yet he chewed and spat out the Congress, leaving it in a state not knowing whether it was dead or alive — like the Shrodinger’s cat.

After the “merger” of the Congress, in a calibrated measure, he allowed the BJP and the Congress to grow equally. It was meant to split the anti-BRS vote. But he took enough precautions to ensure that neither of the parties outgrew the other, and challenged the BRS.

Is a BJP-BRS tie-up possible?

Now the sudden shift in attacking the Congress has flummoxed many, forcing them to wonder if there was more than what meets the eye, like an understanding, you help me in the Assembly elections and I will help you in the Lok Sabha elections.

BJP spokesperson NV Subhash said KCR’s sudden armistice with BJP was one of his time-tested strategies to confuse everyone.

“For months, he attacks us, and suddenly he fumes at the other Opposition party, keeping everyone guessing as to why he was acting the way he does,” he told South First.

Subhash maintained the BRS has been the BJP’s rival and the status quo would continue.