Confident of a clean sweep in Lok Sabha elections in Telangana, Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) could be eyeing a key role in the post-poll scenario at the Centre.
Specifically, this is about a role in government formation post May 23, based on speculation over one of the biggest imponderables in Indian politics -- the expected number of seats a political party is likely to win in an election.
With polling for all 17 Lok Sabha seats over in the first phase on April 11, TRS president and Telangana Chief Minister K. Chandrashekhar Rao is busy holding consultations with senior leaders and close aides on the possible scenarios at the Centre and how the party could play a role in national politics.
KCR, as Rao is known among his supporters, is said to be following the trends in various states to evaluate the situation and devise his strategy accordingly.
'T News', a Telugu news channel owned by KCR's close aide and other pro-TRS media say that with 16 seats KCR will bring together other like-minded parties to play a crucial role in cobbling together a non-BJP and non-Congress alliance.
Other Telugu newspapers and television channels predict that KCR will be looking to play a greater role in the shaping the next government at the Centre. They say that in the event of a fractured verdict, KCR would be ready to do business with anybody at the Centre as the state's interests will be paramount for him.
Telangana is looking for greater allocation of funds for several ambitious projects undertaken by TRS, KCR may back anyone offering better deal for Telangana, says the local media.
The TRS chief remains confident that neither the BJP nor the Congress will be in a position to come to power even with the support of allies. A populist leader, his confidence comes from the self-assurance that his political formula of being liberal with sops is successful.
Last year KCR mooted the idea of a Federal Front as an alternative to the BJP and the Congress. He believes that conditions are conducive for regional parties to form a government at the Centre.
The TRS chief, who also visited various states to call on leaders of non-BJP and non-Congress parties, did not hide his ambition of playing a key role at the Centre. Though during the campaign, he made it clear that he has no wish to become the Prime Minister, his son and TRS working president K. T. Rama Rao did not rule out the possibility of his emerging as the leader.
"Anything is possible," KTR had told IANS in a recent interview. He claimed that the country needed the intellect of KCR to address the issues, which both the ‘so-called national parties' failed to solve.
In fact, a fractured mandate could see other southern Indian politicians jousting for a role at the Centre. Y.S. Jagan Mohan Reddy of YSR Congress Party could emerge as one of the big regional players after the polls.
Though the Federal Front has not yet taken a shape, KTR remains optimistic that this will take no time once the results were announced. He pointed that United Progressive Alliance (UPA) was formed and a leader was chosen only after the elections in 2004.
KCR did not contest the Lok Sabha elections and TRS leaders say his next move would depend on the post-poll scenario. He along with his daughter K. Kavitha and close aide B. Vinod Kumar will be the key figures in national politics. Kavitha and Vinod Kumar are seeking re-election from Nizamabad and Karimnagar Lok Sabha constituencies.
In the event of KCR moving to Delhi, his son KTR will be his successor as chief minister. The TRS chief dropped clear hints by appointing him as the TRS working president soon after the party won second term in power with a landslide victory.
Even in KCR's first cabinet, KTR was seen as Number 2. The young leader held several key portfolios, including industry and information technology, and was the face of the government at key national and international events.
KCR did not induct KTR and his nephew and key party leader Harish Rao in the cabinet this time, apparently waiting for a clear picture to emerge at the Centre. He has not allotted key portfolios like finance, industry, agriculture and irrigation.
Harish Rao, who was the irrigation minister in the previous cabinet, may be part of the cabinet headed by KTR -- though there have been reports of differences between KTR and Harish but they publicly denied it.
During the campaign for the Lok Sabha elections, TRS urged people to give it all 16 seats (leaving Hyderabad for its ally All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen) so that the party can decide who should form the government in New Delhi and who should be the Prime Minister.