As Telangana goes to polls in the first phase on April 11, a compelling narrative of ‘KCR versus Who’ is set to dominate the campaign theme in the State. The reasons are not far to seek: Chief Minister K Chandrashekhar Rao is sitting pretty after securing a resounding mandate in the recent Assembly elections while the opposition Congress camp is in a state of complete disarray, suffering steady desertions. The Telugu Desam Party, on the other hand, has lost its relevance in the changed political dynamics post-bifurcation. The BJP, a fringe player at best, has been further weakened following its alliance with the TDP coming to an end. By all accounts, it is going to be a clear one-sided battle. The coming Lok Sabha polls will provide an opportunity for the voters of India’s youngest State to strengthen the federal spirit with their collective expression of regional aspirations. Post-elections, the regional parties are set to play a greater role in the formation of the Central government and shaping its agenda. It is only by strengthening the voice of the regional parties in Parliament that it would be possible to end the domination of the two national parties in Delhi. When the Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) could achieve the statehood with just two MPs in its kitty, tremendous benefits can flow to the State if it sends a full contingent of MPs representing the regional aspirations and it would be possible to realise several pending promises made under the AP Reorganisation Act.
Strong States will lead to a strong nation. Though the Constitution has said that India will be a Union of States, what has emerged over the years is a ‘Unitary State’ instead of a true Union of States. The coming elections are bound to throw up a fractured mandate, leading to a coalition arrangement where regional aspirations will find greater resonance in the policy decisions at the Centre. People are yearning for a qualitative change in politics that ensures social justice and faster growth. India’s pace of development has been excruciatingly slow while others in the region like China are miles ahead across all parameters. This is due to the status quo brand of politics adopted by the two national parties over the last several decades. There is a need for the regional players to come together on the basis of a common programme and build an alternative front. It is this idea of strengthening the federal spirit that is at the core of Chandrashekhar Rao’s proposal to build Federal Front as an alternative to the Congress and the BJP. Such an arrangement would be able to correct the historical imbalances in the developmental model and put the country on a high growth trajectory.