The second political innings of Kalvakuntla Chandrashekar Rao (KCR) as a prime leader and founder of the Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) had witnessed intense emotional political commotion. As a sub-regional political party leader articulating the interests of the Telangana region and people within Andhra Pradesh’s political entity, he used to device a few innovative strategies. His original assertive political approach, as per visible observable pattern was his emotionally connecting speeches. His speeches had a simultaneous dual edged target. While the Telangana people used to cheer, the rest of the Coastal Andhra and Rayalaseema people used to feel hurt, after watching and listening KCR’s speeches.
Politically KCR’s TRS party was able to establish some hold and ground only within a few districts after its establishment. This dimension continued for long. The North Telangana districts primarily had a firm grip in favour of the TRS. But then, even on a few occasions, the TRS lost its prospects within the North Telangana districts and performed miserably during a few electoral contests. The Southern Telangana zone had relatively less impact concerning about the TRS’s base and ideology. In another sense, while the North Telangana zone had better cadre and leadership, such dimension lacked in the Southern Telangana zone.
But then, the political prospects of the TRS started to had an entirely different position due to the changed political situation since November/December 2009 onwards. The political base of the TRS began to witness widespread penetration since the end of the year 2009; same time other political parties used to feel worried due to loosing of their base to the TRS.
From 2001 to 2009, i.e., from the establishment of the TRS to broad political base shift in favour of the TRS had undergone different dimensions. During 2001 to 2004 the TRS made intense efforts to pave base for its ideological assertion within the democratic electoral sphere. The confidence of the TRS also gained an immense positive boost after witnessing a certain level of success in the local self-governance bodies elections.
During the year 2004 elections to the Andhra Pradesh Legislative Assembly and Lok Sabha constituencies, TRS and the Indian National Congress (INC) had an electoral collaboration. As a result of such coalition engagement both the TRS and INC, after elections had formed joint governments at the Andhra Pradesh level and the national level. In another sense, both at the Andhra Pradesh level and at the federal level, the TRS became part and parcel of the Council of Ministries headed by respective Chief Minister and Prime Minister. The INC primarily formed both governments at the Andhra Pradesh and national level. Mainly, the INC government at the federal level was a significant coalition government, under the Prime Minister-ship of Dr Manmohan Singh. But, the INC government at Andhra Pradesh secured an absolute majority in the Legislative Assembly to form the government on its own. Even then, both the INC and the TRS had become part and parcel of a coalition government, at Andhra Pradesh.
The TRS continued for a few years as part of the INC headed rules at the Andhra Pradesh and national level. But, in due course of time, TRS started to quit the respective Ministries, alleging that the INC headed coalition governments, primarily at the national level failed to initiate measure towards the realisation of a separate Telangana state formation! First, TRS Ministers withdrew from the INC government at Andhra Pradesh level. And next, the TRS withdrew from the Union Council of Ministry. But, there was a significant time gap between the two decisions and withdrawal from the respective Council of Ministries headed by the Chief Minister and Prime Minister.
The TRS faced an intense political competitive challenge, primarily from the INC at Andhra Pradesh level. A few elected representatives after 2004 elections had challenged the working and decision making styles of the TRS leadership, i.e., KCR. This prime challenge emerged when the TRS under KCR’s leadership decided to withdrew support to the INC government at Andhra Pradesh level; as a result of which TRS Ministers withdrew from the Council of Ministry headed by Y S Rajashekara Reddy.
The challenge of a few elected representatives during this time was analysed in both negative and positive shades. As per negative shaded perspective argument, the elected representatives who challenged the TRS and KCR’s leadership and decision making style were branded as opportunistically looking towards the INC and Y S Rajashekara Reddy’s leadership for better political prospects and more!!
Such suspected ill-intention of the TRS elected representatives amounts to arguing that a few elected representatives were always ready to associate and benefit by willing to illegally and immorally associate with those who are in political power, like the INC and Y S Rajashekara Reddy in this particular case and situation. In fact, this kind of trend in politics had started and made party formal political affiliations and ideological commitments in jeopardy. The Indian politics is continuing with this kind of contradictions.
At another level, after 2004 elections, at times, on a few occasions, TRS cadre and local level leaders used to object to the working style and functioning nature of the KCR’s leadership. KCR used to had prolonged arguments with such sections and groups. But, as per media projections and analysis, KCR failed to engage and address their genuine political concerns democratically. As a result, the final result on such occasions resulted in loosing of sincere and committed cadre! During such times, political observers felt that the TRS under KCR’s leadership was heading towards a dangerous political crisis, as proper democratic decision making and problem resolving mechanism was not in place.
Another political strategy adopted by the TRS under KCR’s leadership was to contest in the elections, even before the end of the formal tenure of the Legislative Assembly. As a result, a few Members of Legislative Assembly (MLA) and Member of Parliament (MP) resigned and contested elections seeking fresh mandate towards their ideological and political performance. But, a few TRS elected representatives challenged such decision and sided with the INC, politically. This dimension should be seen from party defections perspective. All this happened in the year 2008, even though general elections were scheduled to be held in 2009! But, during this by-election atmosphere, the TRS contested elections without having any formal electoral alliance with any other co-political party like the INC, etc. The result of this by-election was dis-heartening to the TRS. KCR had a tight position to face; because of electoral humiliation after witnessing the by-election result and justify his leadership and decision-making ability and capability formally in front of media! During this by-election, the TRS lost the election on a massive scale.
All this proves that the TRS during 2001-2009 had faced an intense political crisis. But, somehow, after completion of the year 2009 general elections and in particular after the sudden and tragic demise of the Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Y S Rajashekara Reddy; the TRS under KCR’s leadership had faced intense political ascendance. The political prospects of the TRS since the year end of the year 2009 should be analysed as a separate political phase.