Twenty-one years after its launch, the Telangana Rashtra Samithi no longer exists under that name. It was officially renamed the Bharat Rashtra Samithi yesterday. Party chief and Telangana chief minister K Chandrashekar Rao made the announcement at the “auspicious” time of 1.19 pm in what is presumed to be his party’s push for a national role.
While the announcement was met with celebrations by party workers, not everyone was convinced.
“Rao’s presumption that he could emerge as a national leader by rebranding his party stretches credulity,” the Indian Express said in today. “...Even if it wins all the Lok Sabha seats in its stronghold, it will have a total of 17 MPs. Moreover, the rebranding may hurt the original brand of the TRS.”
Express also said Rao’s record in office has been “uninspiring” thus far and he’s “reduced the TRS into a family fief”. And “without a national organisation or a credible and resonant counter narrative to the BJP’s pitch,” the editorial concluded, “he may find it hard to realise his dream.”
The Times of India was equally wary in this morning, headlined “T better than B”. The move promises “more risk than reward” and “may leave KCR’s core support base unimpressed”.
It also said lessons must be learned from other regional parties. “Strong regional parties focused in their core areas”, like the TMC and BJD, “seem better placed to fight the BJP” but the “results have been poor” when they’ve tried their luck in other states, such as the TMC in Goa and Tripura and the JDU in Manipur and Arunachal Pradesh.
KCR will have “nothing additional to impress voters”, TOI concluded, “since for Bharat minus Telangana he barely registers on the political meter”.
But KCR has always been a divisive figure. In 2019, Newslaundry reported in detail on how reporting on misgovernance can put you under police scrutiny – or even land you in prison. Read our report on how KCR was crushing Telangana’s “anti-establishment” media.