Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) Working President K.T. Rama Rao on Wednesday held preliminary talks with YSR Congress Party President Y.S. Jaganmohan Reddy on the proposed Federal Front and they agreed to hold further talks, sources in the two parties said. Jagan, as leader of Opposition in Andhra Pradesh Assembly, welcomed the initiative and agreed to hold further talks with Telangana Chief Minister and TRS President K. Chandrashekhar Rao, when the latter visits Andhra Pradesh.
He told reporters after meeting Rama Rao and other TRS leaders that they had preliminary discussions over the proposed front. Rama Rao, who is the son of Chandrashekhar Rao, along with three other leaders of the party, met Jagan at his Lotus Pond residence.
After nearly two-hour meeting, KTR, as Rama Rao is popularly known, and Jagan spoke to the media persons. The TRS leader said KCR, who also spoke to Jagan over the phone, would soon visit Andhra Pradesh to hold further talks with him. KTR said their meeting was part of KCR's efforts to form a front as an alternative to both the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) and the United Progressive Alliance (UPA).
Jagan said he welcome KCR's initiative to create a national platform by bringing together like-minded regional parties to fight for the protection of the rights of the states. He believes that if the regional parties have more strength in Parliament, they could exert pressure on the Centre to undo the injustices to the states. Citing the example of Andhra Pradesh, YSRCP chief said the Centre did not keep the promise of 'special category' status, though it was announced in Parliament.
Stating that 25 MPs of Andhra Pradesh may not achieve the special category status but with 17 MPs of Telangana, they could have a strong voice at the Centre. "If states have to progress, regional parties should unite. The number of their MPs should also increase," said Jagan. KTR said TRS had already made its stand clear on the issue of special category status.
"The promise made by then Prime Minister in Parliament should be honoured," he said. This is the first direct talks between the leaders of the two parties since KCR floated the idea of the Federal Front in 2018. With Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister and Telugu Desam Party (TDP) President N. Chandrababu Naidu working for an anti-BJP front, KCR has decided to rope in YSRCP in his proposed front. The TRS chief has already held talks with West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik, Janata Dal (United) leader and former Prime Minister H.D. Deve Gowda, former Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav and DMK leader M.K. Stalin. After taking over as the Chief Minister for a second term following the TRS' victory in December's elections, KCR intensified his efforts to cobble together the Federal Front.
(With inputs from agencies.)