KCR Goes All Out To Form 'Third Front' To Take On BJP At Centre, Will He Succeed?

Ahead of the 2024 general elections, Telangana CM KCR has revived his pet 'Third Front' project by meeting several regional satraps. Detractors say he's trying to bargain with New Delhi on cases of graft against him and his family with central agencies. Everyone agrees a lot will depend on the outcomes of the five state assembly elections.


Telangana CM KCR.

Telangana Chief Minister Kalvakuntla Chandrashekar Rao's (KCR) ambitious plan to form a Third Front and storm into national politics to take on the Narendra Modi-led BJP government is not a new dream. He tried to make such an effort prior to the 2019 General Elections but withdrew discreetly as the response was lukewarm. 

Many of his opponents suspect KCR's annoyance with the Centre is because of its refusal to consider his request to allocate funding for his pet projects like the multi-purpose Kaleshwaram lift irrigation project on the Godavari, and Dalit Bandhu in the Union budget. 

In his budget reaction, KCR had gone hammer and tongs against the Modi government, even demanding a rewriting of the Constitution. He also cited ill-health to not receive the PM when the latter came to Hyderabad to unveil the ‘Statue of Equality’ of Seer Ramanujahari. However, he received the President a week later. 


In the recent past, KCR has already spoken to the DMK president and Tamil Nadu CM MK Stalin as well Deve Gowda to request them to strengthen his initiative to revive the Third Front. No sooner than they agreed that KCR got in touch with Maharashtra CM and Shiv Sena supremo Uddhav Thackeray as well as NCP chief Sharad Pawar.  

KCR had a luncheon meeting with Uddhav Thackeray on February 20. "Save Democracy" is their agenda as announced in the press briefing. But observers question KCR's record on the democratic functioning of his own party. “Is it not a fact that both KCR and Uddhav are dynasts hell-bent upon perpetuating their fiefdoms?” asks Brigadier (retd.) G.B. Reddy, and adds, “KCR has already inducted four members of his family in critical portfolios. His son K.T. Rama Rao is a working president of TRS and a cabinet minister, his nephew  T Harish Rao is a minister, daughter Kavita is in the State Legislative Council, another nephew Santosh is a Rajya Sabha MP. There is news that KCR is set to induct another relative, Vamsi Rao, into a key political position."


After meeting Thackeray and Pawar, KCR claimed that the Third Front will be a reality soon. He said even West Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee called and invited him to discuss the formation of the ‘Third Front'.  Thus far, KCR looks jubilant as he could rope in some of the major regional parties to his ambitious plan. 

But Telangana Pradesh Congress Committee (TPCC) president Revanth Reddy expressed doubt over KCR’s move to form a Third Front. He alleges it as a ploy to weaken the UPA, led by his party. He accuses KCR as a BJP plant trying to float a Third Front only to "save his own skin from several graft charges" and indirectly help the saffron party. Revanth Reddy had earlier demanded action against KCR for abusing the Constitution.  

Many political analysts feel that the BJP, which is determined to expand its footprint in the South, may begin its ‘operations’ after March 10, when the results of the five states that went to polls will be out. 

Yet, KCR's supporters back home are upbeat and would like to see their leader as a future PM candidate. They are also willing for a smooth transfer of power from KCR to his son at the earliest. “KCR is the only future of the nation, as he has provided good governance for the past six years. Time has come for a change at the Centre if India wants to develop as a strong nation,” claims one of his aides on condition of anonymity. He further claims that KCR’s decision to revive his ambitious “Third Front” is to test how it works ahead of the upcoming presidential and vice-presidential elections, which are scheduled sometime later this year. He also dismissed BJP state leader’s claims that central agencies possess clinching evidence of the alleged graft charges against KCR and his family, and may swing into action once the assembly polls are over on March 10. 


Interestingly, a new capsule of a regional news channel—"Change of guard in Telangana looks inevitable sometime in April"—has gone viral on social media. The channel claims if central agencies initiate action against KCR family members, including son KTR and Kavitha, it is not KCR’s son KTR who will succeed, but senior party MP B. Vinod or his nephew and finance minister T. Harish Rao. 

It is gathered that jubilant party activists not only put up huge hoardings of KCR with regional satraps in whichever state he is visiting but also in the national capital, as they are of the firm belief that this time around, KCR will really storm into national politics. But, what if the five state polls prove otherwise? That’s the question bothering not only KCR but also all those who expressed their willingness to join his Third Front bandwagon.