Former Odisha chief minister Giridhar Gamang and his son Sishir Gamang joined the Bharat Rashtra Samiti led by Telangana Chief Minister K Chandrashekar Rao (‘KCR') in Hyderabad. This is part of KCR's efforts to strengthen the BRS — new name and a national identity for his party — and make an impact beyond his state.
The Gamang father-son earlier this week resigned from the BJP, the party that the veteran had joined in 2015 after several years of being in the Congress.
For KCR, Giridhar Gamang's popularity as a tribal leader in southern Odisha is significant as that area also has a considerable Telugu population. Giridhar Gamang has been a nine-term Lok Sabha MP from tribal-dominated Koraput in Odisha, and served as a union minister.
The BRS hopes to get non-BJP, non-Congress forces together with others opposed to Odisha's ruling BJD, to target at least four Lok Sabha seats of the state's 21 for the 2024 elections. He is also eyeing 30 assembly seats.
Beyond Odisha, the BRS is attempting to strengthen its presence in various states where KCR has met farmer leaders and others who may be interested in quitting the BJP or Congress to join him.
At the Gamangs' joining event, KCR said the BRS was floated "to change the future of India" and thus several leaders from Odisha came and joined. Besides Giridhar Gamang and his wife and son, former Odisha MLAs Navin Nanda, Ratha Das, Arjun Das and Raghav Sethi were among those who came into the BRS.
KCR further said, “Many governments and leaders have changed, but the fate of farmers and poor people has not changed... Because when there are elections, parties are winning but people are losing. Serious change is required in the Indian political landscape."
He recalled the farmers' protest against the Centre's controversial farm laws in the national capital. “I have called for 'Ab Ki Baar, Kisan Ki Sarkar'. Several leaders have become MLAs and MPs, but this time (in 2024 general elections) farmers only should become MLAs and MPs."
He reiterated the BRS's promise of free power supply to farmers across the country.
When the BRS — earlier called the Telangana Rashtra Samithi — held its first big show in Khammam on January 23, it was attended by three chief ministers, AAP's Arvind Kejriwal from Delhi, AAP's Bhagwant Singh Mann from Punjab, and the Left's Pinarayi Vijayan from Kerala, besides former UP chief minister Akhilesh Yadav.
On February 17, when KCR as chief minister will formally open the new state secretariat on his birthday, he has invited his Tamil Nadu and Jharkhand counterparts — DMK's MK Stalin and JMM's Hemant Soren.
Sources said KCR is also planning a grand meeting in Delhi between February 14 and March 12, as a show of unity among non-BJP, non-Congress patties, and wants to invite Bengal's Mamata Banerjee, Bihar's Nitish Kumar, besides the leaders who have already been on stage with him. These may include Former Karnataka chief minister HD Kumaraswamy and Bihar's deputy chief minister Tejashwi Yadav.