Early polls in Telangana
Telangana Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao (KCR) had earlier stirred the opposition camp by floating the idea of a Federal Front of regional parties for the 2019 Lok Sabha elections. But in subsequent months, he met Prime Minister Narendra Modi on more than one occasion seeking Central grants and approval to a large number of development projects for the state. These meetings kicked off the speculation that KCR is getting cosy with BJP. Though KCR has claimed that he would not seek an alliance with either BJP or Congress and would rather go alone in the Assembly and Lok Sabha elections. On Thursday, his Cabinet decided to dissolve the Assembly and seek a fresh election, nine months ahead of the term of the government. After a Cabinet meeting approved the proposal to dissolve the Assembly and seek a fresh mandate, KCR met Governor ESL Narasimhan and submitted the resolution. The Governor accepted the resolution and asked KCR and his Council of Ministers to continue in office as caretaker government till elections. Now, Telangana Assembly elections are expected to be held along with Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Chhattisgarh, and Mizoram in December this year. After meeting the Governor, KCR proceeded to the Telangana Martyrs Memorial at Gun Park near the Assembly and paid tributes to martyrs who lost their lives fighting for the separate Telangana state, leaving no one in doubt that KCR is in a completely poll-mode now. Later on Thursday, he is expected to address Telangana Rashtra Samiti (TRS) leaders and workers at party headquarters Telangana Bhavan, where he is expected to call upon the party workers to work for the party's victory. The Telangana CM also announced that he would address about 100 public meetings in 50 days. These public meetings will be held in Assembly constituencies beginning at Husnabad on September 7. The CM is then planning to embark on a state-wide tour. "The CM feels that after the success of the Hyderabad meeting, similar meetings should be held in all the Assembly constituencies in which the progress report of the TRS Government would be presented to the people,'" Finance Minister E Rajender said, referring to the 'Pragati Nivedhana Sabha' held on Sunday on the outskirts of Hyderabad. IT Minister and son of Chief Minister K Chandrashekhar Rao, KT Rama Rao said, "If at all the elections are held early it will help the TRS. We will win both the state as well as Lok Sabha polls convincingly. Holding early elections will give us ample room to find potential partners for 2019 polls." The reason why TRS is seeking an early Assembly poll is that it will have some time to recalibrate its Lok Sabha strategy based on the Assembly poll outcome. TRS is also not averse to post-poll alliances depending on the number of seats it wins in the Assembly and Lok Sabha elections. Further explaining his party's strategy, the Minister said, "We believe the time has come to go back to the people and seek a mandate. We have 16 seats in Lok Sabha and we are confident we will win all, including Secunderabad. We want to play a decisive role in Delhi." TRS chief had made his intentions clear when he floated the idea of Federal Front that he wanted to play a more pro-active role in the national politics. Now, the TRS strategy is that it should win as many seats as possible and then look at the post-poll scenario whether it needed to be part of an alliance to improve its bargaining power vis a vis the Centre. Though the ground realities are not much encouraging for TRS given the high number of farmers suicide reported from the state, TRS leaders are expressing confidence that the party will emerge victorious in the upcoming elections. However, the idea of Federal Front is still not dead and TRS sources claimed that they are seriously and quietly working towards forming a Federal Front for the 2019 Lok Sabha election. "We believe there are no national parties. Even BJP is a big regional party. We believe the time has come for like-minded parties to come together and form a government at the Centre," said the minister. She also hinted that the front is focussed on a post-poll scenario. "KCR may not be visibly taking it forward. But things are constantly being worked upon towards this goal. The idea is alive," she said. The MP from Nizamabad also denied that the party was soft on the BJP. "We are not soft on the BJP. On many issues, we have vehemently opposed them. But we would like to have a working relationship with the party at the Centre. If Congress did not field its own candidate, we would have supported its Rajya Sabha deputy chairman bid. We wanted regional representation," she said.