TRS will not support BJP candidate for President

It is highly unlikely that the Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) will support the Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP) in the Presidential Elections

TRS will not support BJP candidate for President

HYDERABAD: It is highly unlikely that the Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) will support the Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP) in the Presidential Elections, 2022, unlike the 2017 elections, where the TRS backed BJP's candidates Ram Nath Kovind and M. Venkaiah Naidu for the positions of President and Vice-President respectively.

The cordiality between the TRS and the BJP has fallen apart what with the Centre's 'deliberate negligence' towards Telangana, as alleged by the TRS. On many occasions, both the parties have criticized each other over development and welfare programs, 'step-motherly treatment' to Telangana and the contentious issue of religion. The TRS has been claiming that the Centre has not paid attention to the development of the State, despite multiple appeals whereas BJP claims otherwise.

It was also seen in recent days that Chief Minister K Chandrashekar Rao (KCR) has avoided meeting Prime Minister Narendra Modi. The cold-war between the two parties erupted into a turf war over the last three years. Be it the unveiling of 'Statue of Equality' in February or when the PM attended ISB's 20th anniversary celebrations at Hyderabad in May, KCR avoided meeting Modi as if to demonstrate his 'righteous indignation'.

Meanwhile, KCR has also been meeting leaders of opposition parties in other states. Sources said that the Chief Ministers of Telangana, Delhi and Punjab had discussed the possibility of a candidate of the non-BJP parties for the poll.

The growing bitterness between the parties and the increase of BJP's interest in wresting Telangana from the TRS will most likely lead the latter to support a non-BJP candidate. At present, the TRS has 103 MLAs, nine Lok Sabha MPs and six Rajya Sabha MPs. The party's representatives have already indicated their disinclination to support the BJP nominee.

Apart from this, KCR may also consider a few other options. If he can stitch a pact of opposition parties, the DMK, the JD(S), the JMM, the AAP and the lies, which way Maharashtra would go remains an interesting question, Will the Shiv Sena support a candidate backed by the Congress? The YSR Congress and the Biju Janata Dal would be wooed by the BJP to buttress support for its candidate, for their numbers are important for the BJP to have its candidate elected.

Will the Trinamool Congress toe the line of KCR is a moot point. The Communist parties will also have to take a stand, as the CPI-M is the ruling party in Kerala. In fact, KCR held parleys with Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan, the CPI-M national leader Sitaram Yechury and others. How this would translate into an alliance would be an interesting thing to watch.

Reports suggest that KCR might not be averse to supporting the BJP nominee, if the latter fields an SC or ST candidate for the top job. Last, but not completely discounted, option before KCR would be to ensure that the TRS stays away from voting. However, given the kind of fighter KCR is, he may not abstain from voting but surely participate in the democratic process.

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