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Hits and misses for KCR from the grand Khammam rally

Though an impressive event with chief ministers of three states and a former chief minister on the dais, the BRS rally’s impact is much more likely to be felt at the local than the national level.

Anindita Chowdhury | Hyderabad |

(Counting the hits and misses of the first mammoth rally of the BRS it becomes evident that its impact is much more likely to be felt at the local than the national level. Undoubtedly, it was an impressive event with chief ministers of three states and a former chief minister on the dais with a good turnout given that Khammam has not been the traditional stronghold of the BRS.

However, it fell far short of the iconic picture of Opposition unity put up by the likes of Jyoti Basu, VP Singh, LK Advani or AB Vajpayee at the Brigade Parade Ground in 1989 against Rajiv Gandhi led Congress.

The speakers of the occasion, Pinaryi Vijayan, Akhilesh Yaday, Arvind Kejriwal, D Raja or Bhagwant Mann struck the right notes, slamming the Modi Government at the Centre for toppling elected non BJP governments, using governor’s office for harassing elected chief ministers or predicting on imminent exit of the BJP government, but it never came close to soul stirring exhortations to defeat the all-powerful BJP. Even BRS chief K Chandrasekhar Rao, usually a brilliant orator, had to cut short his speech for paucity of time.

However, the canny chief minister was able to kill several birds with a single stone when it came to his own party organisation in the district and boosting electoral prospects of the BRS. Perhaps this was the reason he began his speech by announcing a largesse of Rs 10 lakh as special funds for all gram panchayat and Rs 50 crore for Khammam municipality among others.

Khammam, known for its revolutionary history, be it the Communist-led struggle against the Nizam or the first struggle for Telangana statehood in 1969, has always been a Communist stronghold. In the 2018 Assembly elections the Communist parties had supported the Congress-TDP combine which led the coalition to win eight seats with a lone independent leaving only one in the kitty of BRS.

KCR has now managed to split the coalition with the Left pledging their support to KCR against BJP. In fact, a large number of Left cadres were present at yesterday’s rally with many of them cheerfully shouting the red salute when D Raja and Pinarayi Vijayan rose to speak. KCR also managed to pacify the local infighting among leaders and sent emissaries to them to present a united front on the stage.

It was indeed a well-choreographed show of strength for the BRS as well. Electoral politics is also a matter of optics and here the BRS scored big with a mega rally, swamping the town with party flags, banners and cut-outs, huge security deployment, chopper riding leaders and truckloads of supporters leaving no doubt to the public about who calls the shots in the state.