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Rahul Shares Stage With Chandrababu Naidu in Telangana, TDP Chief Calls it 'Historic Necessity'

The state of Telangana is also a litmus test to the grand alliance. A victory here would indicate a strong message at the national level, say analysts.

Rishika Sadam | CNN-News18

Updated:November 28, 2018, 11:50 PM IST
Rahul Shares Stage With Chandrababu Naidu in Telangana, TDP Chief Calls it 'Historic Necessity'
Congress president Rahul Gandhi with Andra pradesh CM and TDP chief N Chandrababu Naidu at a rally in Khammam on Nov 28, 2018.

Hyderabad: Sharing dais with TDP boss and Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu for the first time after forging a four-party alliance, Congress president Rahul Gandhi told a poll rally in Telangana's Khammam that all promises made at the time of the bifurcation of AP would be fulfilled after a coalition of anti-BJP parties comes to power at the Centre.

The Congress president described the Khammam rally, also attended by its other alliance partners for the Telangana elections — CPI and Telangana Jana Samiti — as "historic" in state and national politics.

"First we will fight against Narendra Modi's B team (the TRS) and after that we will beat the A team (the BJP-led NDA)," he asserted.

"The name of TRS is not Telangana Rashtra Samiti, it's Telangana Rastriya Sangh Parivar. The TRS is the B team of Sangh Parivar and the BJP. Don't forget this," he told an election rally at Kosigi in Mahabubnagar district, accusing TRS of being in cahoots with the saffron party.

Naidu said it was a "historic necessity" for all anti-BJP parties to align and fight against the NDA government, which, he alleged, was destroying institutions like the RBI, Income Tax department, Enforcement Directorate and the CBI.

He said he will convene a meeting of all non-NDA parties on December 10 to further explore the possibility of forging a broad-based front against the BJP and its allies.

The idea of the alliance is to galvanise the anti-KCR momentum in the state. But, will this new found friendship succeed in convincing the people of the state, is still a question, ask analysts.

What worked well for the caretaker chief minister K Chandrashekar Rao and his party Telangana Rashtra Samithi in the previous elections is the strong Telangana sentiment. Needless to say, keeping the anti-incumbency factor aside, KCR is still sure to ride on with the same sentiment this time too.

Naidu’s relationship with the people of Telangana is more than a decade old. From being the chief minister of erstwhile Andhra Pradesh, to a leader against the bifurcation, he’d been on both the sides.

So, is the Congress decision to get Naidu, a leader who was against a separate state, a right move? Well, there are two school of thoughts to the subject, say political analysts in the state.

“The alliance has definitely strengthened Congress’ position in the state. If it clicks, then it will be a major boost for the party in Telangana,” Professor Nageshwar Rao, a political analyst told News18.

A significant amount of population from the regions of Andhra resides in Hyderabad, also referred to as the “Andhra settlers". So, their support to Naidu or the TDP is indirectly a support to the Congress as the consolidated vote bank will add up to the latter’s count, according to Nageshwar Rao.

But, the bigger question is what impact will Naidu’s entry back into the state have on Telangana voters?

Hitting out at the alliance and Naidu’s involvement, caretaker chief minister KCR has been asking people to not let the state slip back into the hands of “Andhra-rulers.”

In fact, caretaker IT minister KT Rama Rao, in an exclusive to News18, had said that Naidu is trying to run Telangana through Congress, which is his proxy vehicle.

“So, there are two sides to this friendship. Naidu could either be an asset or a liability to Congress here. But, it is too soon to decide which one of it would that be,” adds Nageshwar Rao.

The state of Telangana is also a litmus test to the grand alliance. A victory here would indicate a strong message at the national level, say analysts.

With less than 10 days to go for polls, the political activity in the state has been intensifying. Prime Minister Narendra Modi had also campaigned in the state, on Tuesday, for the local BJP cadre. While, Amit Shah was in the state for campaign on Wednesday.

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| Edited by: Ashutosh Tripathi
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