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Newly Renamed BRS to Dent Congress' Efforts for United Opposition

© AP Photo / Manish SwarupA para military force soldier stands guard on the opening day of the winter session of the Parliament, in New Delhi, India, Wednesday, Dec. 7, 2022.
A para military force soldier stands guard on the opening day of the winter session of the Parliament, in New Delhi, India, Wednesday, Dec. 7, 2022. - Sputnik India, 1920, 13.01.2023
Telangana Rashtra Samithi was renamed as Bharat Rashtra Samithi (BRS) on October 5, 2022, with the party aiming to make a foray into national politics.
India's main opposition party Congress has sent an invite to 24 political parties to attend the concluding program of Bharat Jodo Yatra (Unite India Campaign) with the aim to showcase the unity of opposition parties against the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).
However, the efforts of the country's grand old party seem to be in vain, as the recently-renamed Bharat Rashtra Samithi (BRS) is looking to provide an alternative front against the BJP as well as Congress.

Alternative Front in Indian Politics?

Back in 2018, BRS chief K. Chandrasekhar Rao, known as KCR, assumed India should “tackle the arrogance of BJP and Congress,” signaling that he was keen to provide an alternative front in the country's political landscape.

One senior office-bearer in the BRS told Sputnik on condition of anonymity that Rao is pursuing an idea of alternative politics, wherein he places the main focus on the welfare of the farmers, youth, Dalits, and women of the country.

Asked about the immediate plans, he commented that Rao “is looking at the upcoming state assembly polls in Karnataka as the first outing for BRS as an electoral force outside Telangana. He has instructed all party lawmakers and parliamentarians to help ally H.D. Kumaraswamy and his party Janata Dal (S) in the polls.”
Congress Party supporters hold party flags and walk with their leader Rahul Gandhi during a march in New Delhi, India, Saturday, Dec. 24, 2022. - Sputnik India, 1920, 11.01.2023
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The BRS not only promises organization and logistical help in confronting India's major parties, such as the BJP, but will also campaign eagerly for seats in the Telugu-speaking regions bordering Telangana.

“There are around 41 assembly seats where there is a significant population of Telugu-speaking people, and BRS lawmakers and parliamentarians have been asked to campaign for the Janata Dal (S) in those areas,” he stated.

The BRS office-bearer said that parliamentarian from the Zahirabad constituency B.B. Patil, who belongs to the Lingayat community largely found in Karnataka, will be deployed on behalf of the BRS.

Will KCR Succeed in Targeting Both BJP & Congress?

KCR’s efforts to provide an alternative front are also visible, as he has been drawing a line with both Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Rahul Gandhi, considered the informal leader of the Congress party.
To provide an example, the Telangana state chief has on numerous occasions skipped meetings with Modi. At the same time, he also chose to skip Gandhi's “Bharat Jodo Yatra” when it was passing through his state in November last year.
This month, KCR is planning to hold the first public meeting in Maharashtra's Nanded city and also plans to contest for 20 assembly seats in the upcoming elections for the Andhra Pradesh state assembly.
The BRS office-bearer said that KCR is ready to work with any political party, barring Congress and the BJP.

Talking about KCR’s vision of an alternative front, political expert Vinod Kumar Shukla told Sputnik that KCR is putting in a lot of effort to foray into national politics and has some advantage too, but his efforts will only dent Congress, not the BJP.

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“If KCR will support Kumaraswamy and JDS during Karnataka state assembly polls, the alliance will have an advantage as they will get votes from Telugu-speaking areas of the state. Apart from that, KCR has emerged as a leader who is supportive to the farmers so that section of voters might also back him,” Shukla added.

Congress Unlikely to Unite Opposition Under Its Umbrella

Asked whether KCR will only dent Congress and not the BJP, Shukla said that it is not that it will not break into the BJP vote, but the most damage will be done to Congress.

“Basically, the voters who are not happy with BJP had only one option i.e. Congress, but with the emergence of BRS they will now have an alternate. Therefore, people who would have been potential voters of Congress will sway away towards BRS,” Shukla said, providing reasoning for his prediction.

The psephologist also expressed doubts about the possibility of a united opposition in India in the near future.

“I don’t think that opposition parties will unite under the umbrella of Congress, because in the past 10 years Congress has not been able to put up an effective fight against BJP, whereas some of the regional parties have defeated BJP in their respective states.”

“When a politician like KCR comes into play, he is likely to stand apart because of the welfare schemes he has launched in Telangana. Therefore, BRS is likely to put a major dent in Congress’ efforts of united opposition,” Shukla concluded.