Federal Front open to Cong support, but with rider

HYDERABAD/NEW DELHI, MAY 14 (AGENCIES) | Publish Date: 5/14/2019 11:21:47 AM IST

The Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) on Tuesday said a federal front of regional parties proposed by its supremo and Telangana Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao is open to taking support from the Congress to form a government at the Centre as long as they don’t ask for the driver’s seat.

Rao has been pursuing his idea of a federal front of non-Congress, non-BJP regional parties since last year, and TRS spokesperson Abid Rasool Khan’s statement that his party is ready to do business with Rahul Gandhi-led group is seen as significant ahead of the Lok Sabha poll results.

“KCR is very firm that the federal front should be in the driver’s seat and run the government,” Khan said.

In case the front falls short of numbers to form the government, the option of the Congress supporting it from outside would be explored, he said.

“But the government would be of the federal front and Congress will have to extend support from outside. We are very firm that regional parties should be in the driver’s seat. The PM’s post should go to one of the constituents of the federal front. The prime ministerial candidate will be a consensus candidate from among the constituents (of the federal front)”, Khan said.

“We are open to talk to them (Congress) and see whether they support us to form government. If they do, regional parties are not averse as long as they (Congress) don’t come into the driver’s seat,” he said. The TRS leadership had earlier expressed its opposition to aligning with either the Congress or the Telugu Desam Party in Andhra Pradesh in case of a post-poll alliance.

The statement came hours after Rao met DMK chief MK Stalin at his residence in Chennai and urged him to extend support to the Congress.

In the meeting, Stalin conveyed to Rao that his party was in a pre-poll alliance with the Congress and he had also pitched Rahul Gandhi’s name for Prime Minister. However, the proposed federal front is not going to align in anyway with the BJP, Khan said.

“We are averse to the BJP. We do not want to have anything with the BJP, neither to support them or take their support. Most of the constituents speaking with KCR are also of the same opinion that they will not have any truck with the BJP,” he said.

Khan said KCR had taken up an outreach programme to regional parties based on the inputs that they are going to win substantial number of seats in the Lok Sabha elections.

To stall Modi, TMC ready to back Rahul as PM 

Narendra Modi should not return to power at any cost and for that, Mamata Banerjee’s Trinamool Congress is ready to accept Rahul Gandhi as the next Prime Minister, party sources indicated. Referring to DMK chief MK Stalin’s pitch to make Rahul Gandhi the Prime Minister, a source said, “If Stalin says Rahul for PM, it doesn’t matter. All want Modi out”.

A decision on the thorny issue of the top job has been postponed till after the election by consensus among opposition parties. It was the logical move to maintain unity in a disparate combination of parties, where more than one leader harbours national ambitions.

Besides Mayawati, Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee is also on that list.

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