Is BRS becoming TRS again to reinforce its firm commitment to Telangana?

There is a deep-rooted sense among the party functionaries that the party lost its “Telangananess” in the new name BRS. Some senior leaders are contemplating convincing the party leadership of the imperative need to effect a major shakeup.

Is BRS becoming TRS again to reinforce its firm commitment to Telangana?

HYDERABAD: Is Bharat Rashtra Samithi (BRS) planning to change its name back to the Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS)?

There is a deep-rooted sense among the party functionaries and activists that the party lost its “Telangananess” in the new name BRS. Some senior leaders are contemplating convincing the party leadership of the imperative need to effect a major shakeup among the desolate cadre that’s gripped by a sense of despondency after the electoral debacle.

The party was founded on the basic tenet of espousing the cause of a separate Telangana and the very name had an emotional connect with people and more so the electorate.

After achieving the three fundamental reasons of why a separate Telangana was needed - neellu (water), nidhulu (funds), niyamakalu (jobs), the BRS could not effectively inject its achievements of these three among the populace.

The K Chandrashekar Rao (KCR) Government has been able to ensure irrigation and drinking water to all the needy. His Government made the State top in the lists of financial and economic indices and ensured the highest number of Government jobs and private employment to the youth through multiple sources.

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However, the Government tried in vain to walk up the hill in convincing the people about these three with, though there were some setbacks regarding the filling of Government jobs. The BRS Government could not amplify the success in its efforts in creating over 20 lakh jobs in the private sector.

Similarly, its efforts to create gainful employment through the green revolution and blue revolution, through mega projects; the financial successes achieved in terms of GSDP growth and highest per capita and its implications on the common man.

The buzz of repatriating the name to the TRS is getting louder within the party during the Lok Sabha constituency reviews regularly organised by working president of the party K T Rama Rao (KTR) at the Telangana Bhavan.

While the district-level leaders are echoing this sentiment, the party leadership is giving a patient hearing to their observations without making its stand public.

Former minister and Station Ghanpur MLA Kadiyam Sri Hari broke silence on this aspect and voiced his opinion frankly at the review meeting of Warangal Lok Sabha constituency.

He said that it was high time the party considered the idea of getting back to its original sentiment of Telangana on the threshold of the Lok Sabha polls. He felt that this would buttress the party’s conscious narrative that Telangana voice should be heard in the Lok Sabha more loudly and clearly and therefore the people should rally behind it.

He also came up with a suggestion that the party could — if essential —retain its Bharat Rashtra Samithi identity by naming the respective state units with the nomenclature of the states. Thus, the Telangana unit could be called the Telangana Rashtra Samithi popular as TRS.

However, the party was maintaining an intriguing silence. The TRS, which was pally with the BJP, distanced itself from the latter by amplifying the decibel levels against it since 2018.

Also Read: TRS to BRS: Delhi HC closes Revanth Reddy petition against ECI approval

The series of attempts of launching a non-Congress and non-BJP Federal Front by KCR angered the BJP. For, KCR usually pursues the policy in tune with the maxim of ‘slow and steady wins the race’. This is ominous to the BJP, if it had let it prevail.

He held confabulations with DMK supremo M Karunanidhi and also present Chief Minister M K Stalin in Chennai towards the end of 2018. He had met West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thakre, and had sent KTR to discuss the possibility of roping in YS Jagan Mohan Reddy of the YSR Congress into the fold of Federal Front before the 2019 general elections.

KCR had also called on Biju Janata Dal (BJD) president and Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik. He enlisted the support of former Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav (Samajwadi Party) and Deputy Chief Minister of Bihar Tejaswi Yadav (Rashtriya Janata Dal). KCR had met RJD founder Lalu Prasad Yadav too with the express mission of securing his support to the idea of forging an alliance to give a definite shape to the Federal Front.

KCR’s focused approach in garnering support for the idea also had the blessings of Maratha strongman and Nationalist Congress Party president and former Union Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar, whom the then Telangana Chief Minister had called on.

Delhi Chief Minister and Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) supremo Arvind Kejriwal too lent his support to KCR in his bid to scale up the TRS to national level.

The BJP had sensed trouble with his moves and worked backward to debilitate KCR’s efforts to emerge as a national leader with the entire non-Congress and non-BJP flock rallying behind him. The Congress on its part cleverly remained muted to let the BJP do the damage to KCR which would eventually help the Congress in a state where the BJP had dismal influence.

The Congress party’s silence has indeed paid off rich dividends. The BRS fought a war with the BJP in the last stint of 2018-23. The valour demonstrated by KCR in fighting the mighty Modi-Shah duo hit the headlines nationally. To pin down KCR and his party, the BJP began its affront by taking out the Delhi Liquor Scam using its weapons like the Enforcement Directorate and Central Bureau of Investigation. This to some extent embarrassed him as his daughter Kavitha, an ex-MP, also figured in the case.

The Income Tax department was also unleashed on the numerous business houses based out of Telangana and created a sense of trepidation among the business communities that were purportedly owing allegiance to the BRS.

Once the BJP could dilute the concentration of KCR’s assaying of his national bid, the BRS supremo concluded that his painstaking and arduous journey in stitching a coherent political coalition as an alternative to the two national parties, came up with the idea and implemented it by converting the TRS into the BRS. Instead of ruffling the feathers of his friend YS Jagan by extending its wings into Andhra Pradesh politics which is a natural choice, the BRS launched its national activities by opening its unit in the neighbouring Maharashtra.

Though KCR got Janata Dal United’s H D Kumaraswamy for the launch of the BRS, the camaraderie between the two did not last long, as Kumaraswamy had deflected towards the BJP post-Karnataka State Assembly elections.

Also Read: Kavitha Kalvakuntla offers Jayaharati to dad KCR after BRS launch

The BRS fielded some of its candidates in local bodies in Nanded area of Maharashtra and reaped dividends there as a stepping stone.

Nonetheless, there was large-scale disgruntlement that brewed within the TRS but none could muster courage to broach the same with KCR. However, a large contingent of the leaders of the TRS have always apprehended the threat that the people of Telangana would not react positively to the metamorphosis of the party into a national alternative with the change of its name to the BRS. These leaders have consistently maintained their opinion that the name change would not bode well for the party in the elections. Because, the TRS was known as ‘Telangana party’ with its original character reflecting in the very name.

The denouement of the Telangana Assembly elections in 2023 proved their apprehension right and costly to the party. Most leaders and cadre have always felt that this decision of transforming the very character of the party from being Telangana’s very own actually dented its prospects and aspirations for achieving a record third term in office.

When the party began its exercise of introspection, this view about the name and character of the party came into sharp focus at the deliberations.

However, will the BRS supremo budge and yield ground to this idea is a proverbial million-dollar question? Who should bell the cat and stick his neck out to face the brunt of KCR by this idea of reverting to the TRS is haunting the minds of the senior leaders of the party.

For, most of them are unable to fathom the depth of a possible acerbic response from KCR who carved a niche for himself in national politics. The reason is simple: KCR accumulated the credibility of being an achiever after the formation of Telangana and securing a renewed mandate for a second time.

The BRS’s poor showing in the recent Assembly elections cannot be counted as a political rout in the State. The results do not portend that it is politically on a sticky wicket. If the party was decimated at the hustings and was restricted to a niggardly 20 seats, the ideas of all and sundry could have gained momentum to force KCR to consider a reversal.

As it appears on the political canvass of Telangana, the electoral debacle can only be seen as a hiccup that’s so natural to any political party that has been in office of power for close to one decade.

However, the party in its best interest to regain its lost moorings among the people and become resurgent, the party patriarch can take out the rabbit of name reversal from his magic hat and surprise all by announcing that he would stick to Telangana and reinforcing his commitment to the prosperity of the State.

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