With just two more rounds to go in the mammoth, seven-phase elections, political activity for a Federal Front is gathering steam. Telangana Chief Minister K Chandrashekar Rao, who floated the idea of a non-Congress, non-BJP Front two years ago, met his Kerala counterpart Pinarayi Vijayan this evening. Another meeting has been scheduled with DMK chief MK Stalin on May 13.
KCR, as Mr Rao is popularly known in the state, had also placed a call to Karnataka Chief Minister HD Kumaraswamy, but the Chief Minister's office said it was a courtesy call.
The outreach to the Left is a first by Mr Rao. The Telangana chief minister has often been seen as backing the BJP on several issues, which is not acceptable to the Left. Even for a meeting with the DMK,the circumstances have changed. Mr Rao had sent feelers to the DMK last year and even met party patriarch M Karunanidhi and his son, the current DMK chief MK Stalin. But Karunanidhi died last year and the DMK has renewed its alliance with the Congress.
Sources close to Pinarayi Vijayan have denied that the meeting is political in nature.
"KCR will be in Kerala for two days to rest after the election campaign. He will be visiting temples, including Padmanabhaswamy temple. So it is a courtesy call. But general discussion over political scenario may come up," sources said.
Last year, KCR had done the round of states in the north and the east. He had met Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee and Odisha's Naveen Patnaik, but was stood up by Mayawati and Akhilesh Yadav when he reached Delhi to meet them.
The talks with Ms Banerjee and Mr Patnaik had not made much headway.
In a recent interview with NDTV's Prannoy Roy, Mamata Banerjee, however, said Mr Rao is expected to visit Bengal again for further talks.
The Congress had dubbed KCR's Telangana Rashtra Samithi the "B Team of the BJP", and said a Federal Front will only help the BJP.
"This Federal Front idea... the truth behind it is nothing but an attempt to ensure that BJP and 'Modi Sarkar' come back to power," Telangana Congress leader Rajeev Gowda was quoted as saying by news agency Press Trust of India.
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