- K Chandrashekar Rao met his Kerala counterpart Pinarayi Vijayan
- KCR has been at the forefront of "third front" moves
- The "1996 formula" has not seen very successful prototypes
A Prime Minister from south India in a non-BJP, non-Congress front at the centre is Telangana Chief Minister K Chandrashekar Rao's plan, say sources, as his meeting with his Kerala counterpart Pinarayi Vijayan on Monday piqued political interest.
Mr Rao, aka KCR, discussed a federal front minus the BJP or the Congress, on the lines of the "1996-formula", at the meeting, according to sources. The attempts are set against the final rounds of the marathon national election, which will end with results on May 23.
But the plan seems to be a non-starter with two key players, Uttar Pradesh rivals Mayawati and Akhilesh Yadav, not giving KCR any appointment so far.
KCR, who has been at the forefront of "Third Front" moves over the past year, has also reached out to Congress allies like Karnataka Chief Minister HD Kumaraswamy, whom he dialed yesterday, and DMK's MK Stalin, who has strongly backed Congress president Rahul Gandhi for the top post.
But sources in the DMK today said that Mr Stalin was "busy" with campaigning for the last round of voting on May 19, indicating a meeting on the 13th - announced by the Telangana Chief Minster's office - may not happen. KCR's daughter and parliamentarian K Kavitha later said that no meeting had been fixed yet.
Sources say KCR's perceived closeness to the BJP and Prime Minister Narendra Modi "has dented his credibility" among regional parties.
KCR had met Stalin last year but months later, tied up with the Congress for the national election as part of a mega coalition that also includes the Left.
Sources say in his meeting with Pinarayi Vijayan, who leads a Left front government in Kerala, KCR proposed a prime minister "preferably from south India" but took no names. Making his case, the Telangana Chief Minister reportedly reminded Pinarayi Vijayan of Rahul Gandhi's decision to contest from Wayanad in Kerala against a Left candidate, when even the BJP is not in the contest (its ally Bharat Dharma Jana Sena or BDJS is contesting).
KCR's assessment, according to sources, is that "neither the BJP nor the Congress will be able to form a government even with their present allies". The two parties won't even get anywhere near the halfway mark, he predicts.
Calling the meeting "highly significant", Mr Vijayan today said, "KCR discussed the national political scenario. According to KCR, both fronts may not get the majority and so regional parties will get a prominent role... There were no discussions about prime minister candidate."
The "1996 formula" has not seen very successful prototypes. In the late 1990s, three prime ministers who took power at the head of unstable coalitions came and went in quick succession.
Pinarayi Vijayan reportedly told KCR that his CPM's central leadership would take a call on his plan after May 23.
KCR also plans to travel North and East with his plan. Last year, these meetings didn't yield much. He met Mamata Banerjee and Naveen Patnaik, but was stood up by Mayawati and Akhilesh Yadav when he travelled to Delhi to meet them.
Sensing that regional parties could play an important role in the next government, KCR decided to dissolve his government in Telangana and go for early polls last year. He was seen to prep for a role in national politics.