As voters in Telangana and Andhra are all set to cast their votes for the election on April 11, Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao and YSRCP chief Jagan Mohan Reddy, have their eyes set on May 23, when the results of the biggest democratic exercise in the world is announced.
While Telangana has 17 Lok Sabha seats up for grabs, Andhra has 25. Simultaneous Assembly elections for 175 MLA seats are also being held in Andhra Pradesh
The two politicians are hoping that once the results are announced, they will emerge as a large bloc with the number of MP seats they secure, which will help them negotiate or even dictate terms to the next government that comes to power at the centre.
On cue, both the politicians are seen warming up to each other publicly, as voting day draws closer.
Earlier this week, KCR backed the demand in Andhra Pradesh for Special Category Status (SCS) saying, "We will fight for our interests and also fight for the interests of others. Our MPs will definitely support special status for Andhra."
Speaking to Republic TV’s Pooja Prasanna, Jagan responded saying, “We should all be thankful to KCR garu. Even though he is not from our state, yet, he’s expressed his solidarity with our cause. Thanks to KCR garu, we are 25 from Andhra Pradesh and 17 from Telangana. Together we form 42, a big chunk of a bloc.”
“One should support the other state’s interest. So absolutely, if he’s come to pledge his 17 MP’s support to our cause, we should be thankful and this 42-member bloc will become a substantially strong bloc. With that I’m hoping that god will do rest of the miracle and we get special category status. Let’s see the numbers. Anybody is fine with me as long as the deliver special category status in writing,” he added.
Will they emerge as the largest bloc?
KCR has expressed confidence repeatedly that his plans for a Federal Front; a consortium of regional parties, would take shape after the Lok Sabha results.
The Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) chief already has the backing of Hyderabad MP and All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (AIMIM) President Asaduddin Owaisi. A best-case scenario for KCR and Jagan would be sweeping the polls and bagging 42 seats.
Even practically, the two parties estimate that with 15 seats from Telangana and 20 from Andhra, the bloc would consist of at least 35 MPs. KCR then plans to bring together all regional parties across the country together, and form the government, with the support of the BJP or the Congress from outside.
The other option of this consortium would be to support either the UPA or the NDA as a bloc, but even this, only if they are allowed to negotiate terms beneficial for them. This would include getting allotted powerful ministries, autonomy to states, decentralization of power and even removing topics off the Concurrent List; which deals with subjects that give powers to both the Centre and state governments.