Amid Prashant Kishor’s discussions with Telangana Chief Minister K. Chandrasekhar Rao for second consecutive day yesterday, the Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) on Sunday confirmed that it has signed a deal with Indian Political Action Committee (I-PAC) founded by the election strategist.
During an interaction with a select group of journalists, TRS Working President K.T. Rama Rao confirmed that the TRS is working with I-PAC but claimed that this has nothing to do with Kishor. “PK (as Kishor is popularly known) is the founder but I don’t know who is running it. PK introduced us to I-PAC and it is working with us,” he said.
He said PK has disassociated himself from I-PAC which is working with multiple parties across the country. “It’s not just PK we had interactions with. We had multiple iterations of discussions with several others. We spoke to Sunil and others. I-PAC is what we narrowed down to.”
The TRS leader, however, was evasive on whether the agreement is only for 2023 Assembly polls or 2024 Lok Sabha elections as well as the nature of discussions they are holding with PK. “If a gentleman who is into politics, who is into advisory or helpful roles in other places, offers you some inputs, would you not take them?” he asked.
KTR, as Rama Ro is known, did not agree that there will be conflict of interest as PK is planning to join the Congress. “Has he joined Congress? Isn’t it hypothetical, right now. I don’t know whether he is joining or not,” said KTR, who is the son of KCR.
He dismissed the possibility of the TRS approaching Congress. “Why will we approach Congress. Where is Congress? Rahul Gandhi can’t win his own seat, how will he make others win. Someone who can’t win his own constituency or state, how will he win other states and the country,” he asked.
KTR, however, said the TRS will win elections on its own and I-PAC will just supplement it. “If we don’t have public support, they can’t save us. They will just supplement. PK or some outsider can’t save a sinking ship. If you are on the right path, your efforts can be augmented, majorities can improve, number of seats can improve and certain sections of the population can be connected which otherwise would not have connected.”
“All these strategists can only augment or complement your efforts. To overstress or overemphasise that I-PAC or political strategist will win you an election or PK or somebody made Mamata ji (Mamata Banerjee) or Stalin ji (M.K. Stalin) Chief Minister is exaggeration,” he added.
The TRS leader said that if his party has to come back stronger in 2023, it will have to do it on its own strengths and merits. “Anybody else is only going to augment. You are overemphasising or overstressing on extraneous factors. I-PAC is an extraneous institution which will only give inputs.”
He explained that I-PAC will help reach people in the age group of 18-30 as the party needs different mediums and different forms of communication. He pointed out that digital media has become an important platform and the TRS doesn’t want to miss out on it.
KTR was evasive to questions about the possibility of TRS working with the Congress for evolving a national alternative.
“I am not an astrologer to say what will happen six months from now,” KTR said when asked if TRS would be working with Congress for Lok Sabha elections.
He said that the TRS plenary to be held on April 27 to mark 21st foundation day of the party will decide its approach to national-level politics and its stand on national issues. The day-long plenary will also decide how to win elections in Telangana for the third time.
On anti-incumbency, KTR said that it is extremely natural. He said any government which is in power will have to go through it and it is not just confined to the TRS. He was confident that people will give a fresh mandate to the TRS on the basis of the governance it provided during the last 8-9 years and what it delivered.
He exuded confidence that KCR will re-write history to lead the TRS to third consecutive poll victory, a record in south India.