With renewed vigour, armed with a massive win in the assembly elections in his home state, K Chandrashekhar Rao, chief minister of Telangana, embarked on a tour to meet, yet again, leaders of regional parties.
Just before dissolving the Telangana assembly and opting for early elections, KCR had met with DMK president MK Stalin, TMC chief Mamata Banerjee and even JDS supremo HD Devegowda hoping to form a coalition of regional parties.
When he took a back seat, in order to focus on and campaign for Telangana polls, political developments in the neighbouring state of Andhra Pradesh brought in a new dimension. TDP chief Chandrababu Naidu who broke off the alliance with BJP started meeting the same regional leaders including HD Devegowda, MK Stalin, Mamta Banerjee and also formed an alliance with the Congress party, setting aside decades’ old differences between the two parties.
Meanwhile, Stalin, on the occasion of the unveiling of the statue of his late father M Karunanidhi, announced his endorsement of Rahul Gandhi as the prime ministerial candidate.
The most integral difference between KCR's federal front and the Naidu-fronted anti-BJP block is the presence of the Congress party. While the latter insists that the coalition should be a non-BJP, non-Congress one, the second has maintained that opposing BJP without the Congress is not practical.
Repeated derision that KCR is Modi's B-Team will also be an additional impediment, although vehemently denied by KCR and his party. The lack of BJP's footprint in Telangana will eliminate them as a potential threat locally to TRS. Many political pundits have also not ruled out possible support by TRS to NDA in a post-poll situation if the need arises.
As KCR took charge, for the second time as the CM of Telangana, he lashed out at his political foe-turned-friend-turned-nemesis-again Chandrababu Naidu, saying that the attempts he is making to distract people of Andhra Pradesh from the failure of his governance the last 4 ½ years will be futile; he and his party will be rendered irrelevant even in Andhra after 2019 polls, thus his attempts at forming a coalition will be moot.
The JDS, DMK, and TDP have already pledged alliance to Rahul Gandhi and the Congress. KCR has been hoping to harness the resistance that leaders like Mamata Banerjee and Mayawati have displayed towards the leadership of Rahul Gandhi and using that, woo them towards his front.
But after his meetings with Naveen Patnaik and Mamata Banerjee, while KCR visited Delhi to meet the regional giants from Uttar Pradesh, Mayawati, and Akhilesh Yadav, the two remained in Lucknow and the meeting did not materialize.
Despite her decision to not ally with Congress in the Hindi heartland assembly polls, her blistering press conference mounting an attack against several Congress leaders notwithstanding, Mayawati extended support to the grand old party in Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan when they fell short of a couple seats to form a government.
With an eye to possible realign with the Congress, party chiefs of both SP and BSP were conspicuously not available for KCR, dealing a blow to his federal front.
Any alliance without the regional satraps from UP would be improbable as most polls have predicted that if they fight together, their coalition will gobble up a lion's share of the 80 seats in the country's politically most muscular state.
With Congress increasing its footprint and Rahul Gandhi's acceptability to lead growing, more regional parties will be more attracted to fight the elections as a partner. And that seems to the message both Akhilesh and Mayawati seem to be sending to KCR.
For now, KCR might have to wait for the two parties to make up their minds on which coalition they want to be part of and till then, that grand plans for the federal front might have to be put on hold.