Hyderabad: Prime Minister Narendra Modi keeping the Telangana state slot in the Union Council of Ministers vacant is being seen as an open invitation for the ruling Telangana Rashtra Samiti (TRS) to join the government, with the lure of one Cabinet and one minister of state post going to the party.
However, no BJP leader is ready to say openly that they are not averse to admitting the TRS in order to add to the National Democratic Alliance’s kitty.
TRS denies any move to get closer to BJP
BJP leaders have openly declared that the TRS is their political enemy and the BJP will win on its own whether it is the 2019 general election or the state Assembly.
TRS sources stoutly deny that there is any move to draw closer to the BJP. They say it will be suicidal for the TRS to join the Union Cabinet at this stage, as this will automatically strengthen the Opposition Congress in a state that has 12 per cent Muslim minority vote bank outside the old city of Hyderabad.
It may be mentioned here that when Bandaru Dattatreya, the lone BJP MP elected from TS, was denied a Cabinet berth in the very first Council of Ministers constituted by Narendra Modi, it was the TRS that criticised the BJP for ignoring such a senior leader. After the Prime Minister took Mr Dattatreya into the Cabinet later, TS Chief Minister and TRS supremo K. Chandrasekhar Rao welcomed it and praised Mr Dattatreya as ‘Bangaru (Golden) Dattatreya’ and expected him to do something for the state.
With his removal fr-om the Union Cabinet in the latest reshuffle on Sunday, TRS circles feel that the BJP has acted unwisely in removing a senior leader from the Backward Classes, who constitute nearly 50 per cent of the state’s population.
TRS sources also say it would be a mistake to join the Union Cabinet just 18 months before the general election, since nothing much can be done in the run-up to the election.
In fact, TRS leader in the Lok Sabha, Mahbubnagar MP A.P. Jitender Reddy, said there is no question of joining the Union Cabinet at this stage. “We will not join the Union Cabinet before the 2019 election. We may think about it after the election, based on the political situation that arises then. But certainly not before,” Mr Jitender Reddy said.