Telangana: TRS to campaign for state polls sans I-PAC support?

Hyderabad: Will the ruling Bharata Rashtra Samithi (BRS) in Telangana go ahead and contest the 2023 state elections without the Indian Political Action Committee’s (I-PAC) support? The situation seems to be headed that way as the BRS and I-PAC, which is a political consultancy organisation, still not worked out a deal, which fell through after BRS supremo and chief minister K. Chandrashekhar Rao (KCR) announced his national ambitions last year.

As of now, the I-PAC team that was in Hyderabad has been mostly shifted to the neighbouring Andhra Pradesh, where the consultancy organisation is also working for the Jagan Mohan Reddy-led YSR Congress Party (YSRCP). An I-PAC source confirmed this to, and also said that as of now the organisation is not working with the BRS on any front whatsoever.

“KCR wants Prashant Kishor to work for him nationally. But working for him on a national level is a separate issue. PK is also busy with his work, so the deal is currently on standby,” said an I-PAC functionary. It is to be seen whether both sides figure out a deal in Telangana before the state polls, where the BRS will taken on a growing BJP and a flailing Congress party.

KCR’s national ambitions put spanner in original deal?

BRS supremo KCR’s decision and eventual announcement of rechristening the Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) into the BRS, to give it a national outlook, last year turned some heads. The ruling party here has so far inducted some leaders from Odisha and Maharashtra into its fold out of the state.

I-PAC, aside from its leadership team, is also led by political strategist Prashant Kishor, who last year started his own Padayatra or 3500 kilometer campaign from Bihar. A BRS functionary from Hyderabad also confirmed that they are at the moment not working with I-PAC in any capacity.

“Prashant Kishor has to meet KCR and then the matter will get solved. When IPAC and TRS made a deal, it was not for his (KCR) national goals. We have to see what happens, as Kishor also has his upcoming campaign in Bihar,” said an IPAC functinary, who did not want to be quoted. Prior to this, IPAC had come up with a bunch of creative protest campaigns against the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in Telangana, targeting the saffron party’s central leadership and Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

Last year on September 17, ahead of Union Home Minister Amit Shah’s visit here for the Centre’s ‘Hyderabad Liberation Day’ event, ‘TadipaarKaunHai’ (referring to old criminal cases against him for which he was arrested) posters were put up at Begumpet in the city reportedly by TRS workers.

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Prior to that as part of a sustained three-day campaign, the TRS floated pink balloons with ‘Jai KCR’ on them just hours ahead of PM Narendra Modi’s rally at Parade Grounds in Secunderabad in July. The balloons were positioned outside the venue of the BJP’s final meeting of its national executive in Hyderabad. The balloons were prominently visible from the venue.

Telangana chief minister KCR last October rechristened the TRS into the BRS. It was followed by the change formally being accepted by the Election Commision of India (ECI) in December. In January, former chief minister of Odisha, Giridhar Gamang, who quit the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), joined the Bharat Rashtra Samithi (BRS).

Gamang, a nine-term Lok Sabha MP, along with several other leaders from Odisha joined the party in the presence of BRS president and Telangana Chief Minister K. Chandrasekhar Rao. Speaking on the occasion, Rao stated that BRS was floated with a determination to change India’s future and the thought and ideology of the country.

KCR, as part of his larger plan, said that he will launch state-level units across the country. I-PAC sources said that this may be one of the things clashing with Prashant Kishor’s plans.