From 'TRS' to 'BRS': Alliances, Bypoll Worries and Concerns Over EC Nod as KCR Goes National

The Telangana Rastra Samithi leader's national party, the 'Bharat Rashtra Samithi', is likely to first test the waters with Karnataka and Gujarat. 

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Hyderabad: Telangana chief minister K. Chandrashekar Rao’s move to launch his new national outfit today, October 5, presents his first significant effort to take on the National Democratic Alliance. KCR’s national party is likely to first test the waters with Karnataka and Gujarat.

For the NDA and especially the Bharatiya Janata Party under Narendra Modi and Amit Shah, the states of Karnataka and Gujarat are crucial. Karnataka is BJP’s only stronghold in the south and the only southern state it has a government in. Gujarat is considered to be the party’s ‘home state’. As BJP readies itself to storm into KCR’s bastion of Telangana, KCR himself appears keen to fight the party in its own ‘home turf.’

Setting the stage

In 2018, BJP failed to get sufficient numbers to form the government in the assembly elections in Karnataka. In 2019, the saffron party overthrew the H.D. Kumaraswamy-led coalition government. With the help of defections from the Congress and the Janata Dal (Secular), BJP came to power.

KCR now has his sights set on an alliance with JD(S) in Karnataka. He has already attended several meetings with JD(S) patriarch H.D. Deve Gowda and his son, the former chief minister Kumaraswamy.

Similarly in Gujarat, KCR appears keen to form an alliance with Shankersinh Vaghela’s Jana Vikalp Morcha.

The 92-year-old Vaghela, a former Jana Sangh leader, is considered one of the three builders of the BJP in Gujarat along with Keshubhai Patel and Narendra Modi. Vaghela eventually fell out with Keshubhai and Modi, quitting the BJP to plough his own political path. Vaghela, KCR’s enemy’s enemy, thus has the potential to become his friend.

JD(S)’s prospects

In Karnataka, sources closest to KCR say that he will initially focus on the old Mysuru region, which was once part of the Hyderabad Province during the Nizam’s rule. Also in his sight is likely to be the areas bordering Telangana, inhabited by Telugu-speaking people.

The old Mysuru region, a stronghold of the Vokkaligas, was once considered a bastion for JD(S). The party is understood to have begun to lose its hold over the region with the Gowda family having gotten alienated from its Vokkaliga support base. If KCR enters this region in alliance with JD(S), the latter’s prospects may improve, says Chambi Puranik, former professor of political science at the University of Mysore.

Helping KCR and JD(S) would be the factor of anti-incumbency, feels senior journalist B.S. Nagaraj.

“Though KCR is likely to be a minor player in Karnataka politics, his party will certainly influence Telugu-speaking people,” Nagaraj says.

Adding fire to KCR’s efforts are the BJP’s gains in Telangana in the last parliament elections, the by-polls in Dubbak and Huzurabad and in the Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation elections. BJP conducting its national executive meeting in Hyderabad also reflects its eagerness to wrest Telangana from KCR.

This has clearly prompted KCR to speed up his national party plans.

Also read: Eyes Firmly Set on Taking on BJP, Here Are the Routes KCR Is Keen to Explore

Conclave of opposition parties

With KCR going national, the Communist Party of India’s national congress at Vijaywada, from October 14, is expected to provide a platform for the convergence of anti-BJP opposition leaders.

CPI’s Andhra Pradesh secretary K. Ramakrishna told The Wire, “In our fight against the BJP’s communal politics, the party has decided to invite Telangana Chief Minister K. Chandrasekhar Rao, his Bihar counterpart Nitish Kumar of JD(U), Tejashwi Yadav, deputy chief minister of Bihar and RJD leader, among others, as part of the endeavour to build a common platform with secular and democratic parties against the communal BJP.”

From TRS to BRS

Rao has named the outfit Bharat Rashtra Samithi (BRS). His party in Telangana is, of course, Telangana Rastra Samithi.

“The Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) is now BRS,” Rao said.

In the first of week of December, KCR is scheduled to lead a rally in the national capital, involving BJP opposition leaders like Akhilesh Yadav of Samajwadi Party, RJD’s Tejashwi Yadav, JD(S)’s Kumaraswamy and JVM’s Shankarsinh Vaghela, as a show of strength.

Telangana Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao with Bihar CM Nitish Kumar and Dy CM Tejashwi Yadav addresses a press conference, in Patna, Wednesday, Aug 31, 2022. Photo: PTI

KCR is learned to have dissolved his regional party by getting a unanimous resolution passed at a TRS meeting with ministers, lawmakers and state-level leaders in Hyderabad today.

Later, A delegation of the party will submit the resolution to the Election Commission of India seeking approval for change of the nomenclature of the party – from the TRS to the BRS – and the latter’s recognition as a national party. KCR is understood to want to retain the party’s car symbol and its pink flag.

KCR is likely to head his national outfit as its president while his son K. Taraka Rama Rao is a candidate to the head of the Telangana state party.

Also read: KCR Declares National Ambitions, Says ‘Alternative Agenda’ Needed to Counter ‘Divisive’ BJP


When KCR has been busy launching a national party, the Election Commission released the schedule of by-elections. Bypolls are scheduled to be held in Telangana’s Munugod, necessitated by the resignation of the sitting Congress MLA Komatireddy Rajagopal Reddy who jumped ship to BJP. Questions have arisen over which symbol and party name the TRS candidate would fight under.

Party symbols are allotted only to recognised parties in accordance with the Election Symbol Reservation and Allotment Order of the ECI, 1968.

To secure the recognition from the ECI as a national party, a party seeking such a status needs to have its presence in no fewer than four states with a vote share of 6% or four seats in the parliament representing all the four states as per the ECI’s guidelines.

As many as 2,796 registered unrecognised political parties were listed since 2001, according to a list of ECI released on September 23, 2021. As per the list eight national parties, 54 regional parties and 2796 registered unrecognised political parties existed in the country in September 2021.

Three such unrecognised parties – Bahujan Rastra Samithi in Secunderabad, Bahujan Republican Socialist Party in Mumbai and Bharatiya Rastra Samantavadi Party in Jaipur – have the same or similar initials as KCR’s ‘BRS’. This could pose a hiccup for KCR as he attempts to secure a quick clearance from the EC.