- First direct talks between Jaganmohan Reddy, KCR after new front idea
- KCR wants an alternative to both the ruling BJP and the Congress
- K Chandrashekar Rao already held talks with other opposition leaders
In the middle of "gathbandhan" politics as parties prepare for the national election, Andhra Pradesh leader Jaganmohan Reddy's meeting with Telangana's ruling TRS today drew attention. Chief Minister K Chandrashekar Rao or KCR's son KT Rama Rao (aka KTR) met Jaganmohan Reddy at his Lotus Pond home in Hyderabad, to invite his YSR Congress party to join a non-BJP, non-Congress Federal Front.
Jaganmohan Reddy is the Leader of Opposition in the Andhra Pradesh assembly.
These are the first direct talks between the leaders since KCR floated the idea of a front as an alternative to both the ruling BJP and the Congress.
KCR, the chief of the Telangana Rashtra Samiti, has already held talks with Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik, Janata Dal (United) leader and former Prime Minister HD Deve Gowda, former Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav and DMK leader MK Stalin.
Since he took over as chief minister for a second straight term after his party's victory in last month's elections, KCR has amped up his efforts towards a Federal Front for the national polls due by May.
The TRS is believed to have discussed with Jagan the possibility of working together in Andhra Pradesh to defeat a common enemy - Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu and his Telugu Desam Party (TDP).
Jagan, who recently completed a 3,650-km foot march in Andhra Pradesh, told NDTV that he looks upon KCR and his party as "great friends" of Andhra Pradesh.
"KCR and his daughter MP Kavitha have also spoken in favour of Special Category Status for Andhra Pradesh," Jagan told NDTV. He said he was targeting Andhra Pradesh's 25 seats and along with 17 lawmakers in Telangana, they would be able to get New Delhi to listen to them.
Jagan also said he would support anyone willing to grant Andhra Pradesh special category status, which will entitle the state to more funds from the centre. That is a big issue in the state and Jagan's campaign has mainly highlighted TDP and Chandrababu Naidu as the villain of the piece for getting Andhra a raw deal despite being an ally of the ruling BJP. Mr Naidu left the BJP-led alliance in March last year.
KCR had last month talked about a "return gift" after the Andhra chief minister campaigned extensively for the Telangana election.
The Congress-Naidu alliance failed to make an impact in Telangana and KCR was re-elected after his party won 88 seats in the 119-memer assembly. The Congress won 19 seats.