Telangana chief minister K Chandrashekar Rao on Wednesday renamed his Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) to Bharat Rashtra Samithi (BRS), a move aimed at the national expansion of his outfit ahead of the 2024 general elections.
A one-line resolution to rename the party was passed at a TRS state general body meeting after over 230 delegates signed it.
Rao, popularly known as KCR, who has been rallying regional parties against the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) ahead of the Lok Sabha elections, read out the resolution announcing the renaming at 1.19pm, considered to be an auspicious moment according to astrologers.
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Amid thumping of desks, claps and cheers by the party’s delegates, KCR said the party’s constitution has been amended for renaming the TRS as BRS. The party workers, who gathered outside the Telangana Bhavan in large numbers, burst crackers and raised “Desh ke neta KCR” (leader of the nation, KCR) slogans. However, the BJP and Congress hit out at KCR for renaming his party even as AIMIM welcomed the move.
In his brief address, KCR said the purpose for which the TRS was floated on April 27, 2001 was achieved with the formation of Telangana, which was carved out of Andhra Pradesh, and “making it the number one state in the country on all fronts in the last eight years”.
The TRS has been in power in the state since 2014.
“Now, it is time to take the Telangana model of development to the entire country. Even after 75 years of Independence, India has remained backward in many areas, lagging behind smaller countries like Bangladesh,” he said. “The country has not been able to harness the full potential in agriculture and irrigation.”
Stating that the BRS will take the lead role in providing an alternative development model for the country, KCR said that by adopting right policies, the party would make all-out efforts to put India on the global map of developed nations.
Janata Dal (Secular) leader and former Karnataka chief minister HD Kumaraswamy, president of Tamil Nadu’s Viduthalai Chirutagal Katchi (VMK) and MP Thol Thirumavalavan and some farmer leaders were among those present at the occasion.
In the recent past, KCR has met several regional party leaders including JD(S) chief HD Deve Gowda, the Aam Aadmi Party’s Arvind Kejriwal, Nationalist Congress Party chief Sharad Pawar, TMC chief and West Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee, among others, while rooting for a “non-BJP, non-Congress” alliance. He has been on a collision course with the BJP and called for a BJP-free India, while accusing it of fanning communalism and divisive politics.
Earlier, he had promised to supply free power to farmers across the country, if a non-BJP government is voted to power in the 2024 Lok Sabha elections. He had also accused the Centre of pressuring the states to end welfare schemes on the pretext that they were freebies.
TRS leaders had indicated KCR would announce the launch of the new party and merge the TRS into it. However, a party leader on condition of anonymity said KCR only renamed the TRS to retain its flag, election symbol, and organisational structure.
He added KCR would be elected as BRS national president after which he will name a Telangana unit chief.
Soon after the meeting, former MP B Vinod Kumar and other senior leaders of the party left for New Delhi with a letter addressed to the Election Commission of India, communicating the change of name of the TRS into BRS and making necessary amendments to the party’s constitution.
In August, KCR met Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar and backed his call for a united opposition ahead of the 2024 elections to ensure a BJP-free India. It was the latest in his series of such meetings as part of efforts to build an alternative alliance.
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KCR visited Bihar days after Kumar’s Janata Dal (United) split with the BJP for a second time to re-align with the Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD), Congress, and Left parties.
Dubbing KCR’s national political entry plan as “misadventurism”, state BJP chief spokesperson K Krishna Sagar Rao said the CM struggled to keep “his government operational financially”.
“This is not the first time a regional party has nurtured national ambitions. Many regional parties since 1947 have tried and failed,” he said in a statement. “AIADMK, DMK, TDP, SP, BSP, RJD, JD(U), TMC and recently Aam Aadmi Party are a few.”
Telangana Congress president A Revanth Reddy said by converting the TRS into the BRS, the chief minister has killed the identity of Telangana. “In the last 21 years, KCR has used the Telangana sentiment to grow politically and financially strong. Now that he has realised that he can no more exploit this sentiment, he is eying national politics,” he said.
AIMIM chief Owaisi congratulated KCR in a tweet, saying: “My best wishes to the party on their new beginning.”