Telangana Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao, aspiring for a national role ahead of the 2024 election, launched the Bharat Rashtra Samithi (BRS), a new version of his party, exactly at the recommended “auspicious time” of 1.19 pm today.
The Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) is now BRS, Mr Rao declared after a meeting of his party. Workers celebrated by bursting crackers and splashing pink on the city of Hyderabad.
The “name-change” was conveyed to the Election Commission, which has certain rules for recognising any party as national.
The new party, to be deemed a national entity, must have some presence in at least four states or has to have won six per cent of the votes in any four states and four Lok Sabha seats. Or the party must win two per cent Lok Sabha seats in at least three states.
For now, the TRS only has a strong presence in Telangana, which it rules.
KCR has made it clear that he intends to take on the BJP and challenge Prime Minister Narendra Modi in 2024. In the past year, he has vastly escalated his rhetoric against the BJP, skipping PM Modi’s events and often not even receiving him at the airport on his visits.
In the build-up to his re-launch, Mr Rao, popularly known as KCR, met with a series of political leaders including his counterparts in other states – Mamata Banerjee (Bengal), Nitish Kumar (Bihar), Arvind Kejriwal (Delhi), MK Stalin (Tamil Nadu), Pinarayi Vijayan (Kerala) and Naveen Patnaik (Odisha).
Today, former Karnataka Chief Minister HD Kumaraswamy and DMK ally Thol Thirumavalavan attended the big launch party.
But in a tweak in strategy, KCR has reached out to farmers’ bodies and trade unions for an alliance that would reflect the aspirations of different sections of the society.
KCR plans to address a rally on December 8, the day the then Congress government at the centre announced a separate Telangana state in 2009.
The BRS may face its first election soon, but in Telangana — the Munugode bypoll is expected on November 4. The party is also likely to contest assembly elections in Gujarat, Maharashtra, Karnataka, and Delhi.
The party wants to retain its election symbol of the car and also its pink colour, but it is still a long way from officially becoming a national party.
KCR has told party leaders they must tour different states to talk about the “highly successful” welfare schemes in Telangana over the last eight years to increase the political influence of the party.