TRS deputy floor leader in the Lok Sabha, B Vinod Kumar, said his party has already “sold the idea” of a united front to the regional parties.
He dismissed the perception in some sections of the Congress and the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) camp that the efforts of TRS president and Telangana chief minister K Chandrasekhar Rao in this direction may split the anti-BJP votes and benefit the Bharatiya Janata Party.
“Our thinking on this federal front is: All the regional parties who are powerful in their respective states should come together and their bargaining power will increase with either the Congress or the BJP only if we are united,” the Karimnagar Lok Sabha member told PTI.
“Otherwise, they — Congress and BJP — will deal with each political party in each state and dictate terms to other regional political parties,” Kumar argued.
Regional parties should unite and “collectively bargain” with political parties — in post-poll scenario, he said.
Both the BJP and the Congress are unable to “stomach” this TRS idea to bring about unity among regional parties and are indulging in propaganda — “The Congress says we (TRS) are with the BJP, the BJP says we (TRS) are with the Congress,” he said.
“Our concept of a federal front is that all the regional political parties who have their stakes in their state should come united, we should come united, and we should think and decide whom to support (post-election),” Kumar said.
Rao had few months ago met TMC chief Mamata Banerjee, DMK president M K Stalin and JD(S) leaders H D Deve Gowda and H D Kumaraswamy to promote his idea of a non-Congress, non-BJP federal front. But the initiative was largely seen as a non-starter by critics.
When asked about how the TRS would take the issue forward as many regional parties have either aligned with the Congress-led UPA or the BJP-led NDA, he said: “We have already sold this idea. Already those who are with the BJP are thinking on these terms (federal front) and also the UPA partners they are happy with this (TRS) idea.”
“Now, day before yesterday, Mamata Banerjee, Samajwadi Party and Mayawati had distanced themselves from the Congress,” he said without elaborating.
Banerjee, SP chief Akhilesh Yadav and Mayawati had skipped the swearing-in ceremonies of three Congress chief ministers — Kamal Nath, Ashok Gehlot and Bhupesh Baghel — in Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Chhattisgarh, respectively.
The three leaders are reportedly not in favour of projecting a prime ministerial candidate of the proposed anti-BJP front and are of the opinion that the leadership issue could be discussed after the polls.
On Sunday, the DMK chief backed Congress president Rahul Gandhi as the opposition’s prime ministerial nominee.
Asked if the TRS would reach out to Banerjee, Yadav and Mayawati again, Kumar said: “They should understand properly (the concept of a federal front). We have already briefed them earlier. We will once again tell them.”
TRS sources said Rao may try to give a fresh impetus to the idea of a federal front during his visit to the national capital expected by the end of this month.
Rao, who was recently sworn-in as Telangana’s chief minister for the second consecutive time, is likely to pay a courtesy visit to President Ram Nath Kovind and Prime Minister Narendra Modi in New Delhi.
“During the visit, he may meet the leaders of the regional parties. We will think on these terms (promoting federal front idea),” the TRS leader said.