Telangana Chief Minister K Chandrashekar Rao's son KT Rama Rao, who is the working president of Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS), emphasised on winning 16 out of 17 Lok Sabha seats in the state. Predicting that both the Congress and the BJP would not get majority, he said his father would "bend Delhi's neck" if the party wins as many seats, implying that they would have better leverage in negotiating a post-poll alliance.
"If you see, across the country, BJP is losing confidence. Congress is not in a position to gain confidence all over the country. That's why, each and every parliament seat is going to be crucial tomorrow," he was quoted by news agency PTI.
"If we have 16 seats in our hands, because both (BJP and Congress) are not in a position to get majority. Our Chief Minister is already making efforts for a federal alternative. So, TRS can be in a decisive role at the centre post-Lok Sabha polls," he said.
"If we give 16 seats to KCR, he will bend Delhi's neck and we can get the funds for our state, the interests due to Hyderabad and schemes from the centre to our people," he added.
If the BJP and the Congress fail to secure the majority in 2019, the role of regional parties with a number of Lok Sabha seats in their bag would become indispensable in government formation. Hence, parties on either side of the political spectrum are jostling to stitch pre-poll alliances with important regional players.
KCR's party recently got a thumping mandate in Telangana. After the verdict, K Chandrashekar Rao set his eyes on his new project -- a federal alliance without the BJP and the Congress. He recently met West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee and Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik in this regard.
After the assembly election results, the Congress had to take outside support from regional parties to form governments in Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh -- underscoring the role of state-based parties in the future.
KCR's rival N Chandrababu Naidu is one of the key figures in talks between regional parties and the Congress to form an anti-BJP alliance. The parties have come together on similar platforms many times to show that they are united, but rifts came on surface recently when MK Stalin proposed the name of Rahul Gandhi as their prime ministerial face. Many constituents of the proposed alliance opposed the comment.
Both the rival proposed alliances want Mayawati and Akhilesh Yadav -- major players in Uttar Pradesh-- onboard, but they have not shown their inclination as yet.
The BJP is also struggling with their allies. They have lost the TDP, the RLSP and the PDP as allies last year. Many other regional players like Om Prakash Rajbhar and Apna Dal in Uttar Pradesh have openly spoken about their discontent in the alliance.
The BJP is trying to bring new allies in the NDA fold, especially in south India and the eastern India, for the general elections 2019.
With inputs from PTI