Goal is to replicate Telangana model nationally: Kavitha of TRS
After securing resounding mandate for a second term in office, the Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) has now set its sights on a larger role at national level as an alternative to the BJP and the Congress. During the campaign for Lok Sabha election, the party, headed by Telangana Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao, invoked federal spirit and focused on the need for bringing together like-minded regional parties to decide the contours of the next government at the Centre.
“We want to eliminate both the national parties — BJP and Congress — from the game,” the Chief Minister’s daughter and senior TRS leader K Kavitha told The Federal in an interview.
Kavitha is seeking re-election from Nizamabad Lok Sabha constituency where she is pitted against Madhu Yashki Goud of the Congress and Dharmapuri Aravind of the BJP. She did not agree with the perception that TRS might extend support to the NDA if the BJP-led alliance falls short of numbers to form the government. “In fact, it will be the other way round. The Federal Front of regional parties will be in a position to decide the shape of the government,” Kavitha said.
Excerpts of the interview
Your party has been talking about larger role for regional parties at national level. What role do you envisage for KCR in national politics?
One has to understand that our Chief Minister is not the one who eyes a position and then formulates his narrative. He sets an agenda or goal and then works towards it. Earlier, it was about achieving statehood for Telangana and then its development. He has laid a solid foundation and put the state on the right track. Our goal now, as a party with national perspective, is to work at the national level. The agenda is very simple — replication of the Telangana model of development at the national level, that is ensuring water to every household, 24×7 power supply, quality education, good and affordable healthcare, among other things. We will sail with any party that agrees with our objectives and agenda.
When the idea of federal front was first mooted, there were not many takers. What do you think has changed now?
Today, people across the nation are not looking at labels or rhetoric. They have started looking critically at performance. If one were to analyse the BJP’s performance, what have they done in the last five years for any section of the society that they can showcase? There is not one scheme that they can boast of and say here is what we have done. If you ask me about the TRS government, I can list out 100 schemes covering every section of society. Forget performance, the BJP doesn’t even have any roadmap or vision that they can present the people to take the country forward. You can’t fall back on rhetoric all the time, it won’t work.
Both the BJP and the Congress are sailing in the same boat. If Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s graph is declining day by day, Congress president Rahul Gandhi’s graph is not rising to catch up with others.
Does the failure of national parties automatically mean a mandate for regional parties?
The two national parties have failed the people. The regional parties like the TRS, TMC, BJD and YSRCP stand a good chance at this point in time. These parties will have a major role to play in national politics since they are better in delivering what they promise to the people.
People have begun questioning about the end result promised by Modi on the demonetisation. He has nothing to say. So, where is the delivery? Take for example the Swachh Bharat programme. The Prime Minister is positioning himself as the brand ambassador of an initiative he doesn’t own. Just picking up a broom and putting up a show of sweeping doesn’t amount to anything. There has to be a tangible result. Manifestation of a leader’s ideas and its implementation on the ground is very important, and the BJP has failed in this.
Take Rythu Bandhu scheme introduced by the TRS government. It didn’t materialise out of thin air. We did a lot of groundwork for a year, went through the land purification and updation process and only then the Chief Minister announced the scheme. And then, Prime Minister copies our scheme without even thinking about how it will be implemented in various states.
Yes, in Telangana, it can be implemented because we have already done the groundwork, but how is the Centre going to implement the Kisan assistance scheme in a state like Uttar Pradesh?
People have come to realise that regional parties are more accountable, deliver on promises and are also more logical in their thinking than merely resorting to rhetoric. At this juncture in the country, parties like the TRS will have greater space.
Naveen Patnaik says his party will win 21 seats in Odisha and will be in a position to call the shots. How will the TRS get all such parties to get together to form a viable alternative to the BJP and the Congress?
The TRS works with an agenda without eyeing for any position. When that is the case, it becomes easier to get together various parties with similar ideas and holding them together. We are in touch with Naveen Patnaik, Mamata Banerjee and others, and they are all on the same page. The idea of Federal Front is to eliminate the Congress and the BJP from the game. We don’t want them to be the main players. We will eliminate them in Telangana, and we are working hard to do the same in other states.