Former Odisha Chief Minister Giridhar Gamang on Friday joined the Bharat Rashtra Samithi (BRS) at party headquarters Telangana Bhavan here in the presence of Chief Minister and party president K Chandrashekar Rao. This came two days after he resigned from the BJP.
Gamang’s wife and former MP Hema Gamang and son Shishir Gamang; former Odisha BJP youth leader Snehranjan Das; former All India Congress Committee (AICC) member Rabindra Mohapatra were among those who joined the BRS along with Giridhar Gamang. A few leaders earlier associated with the Jharkhand Mukti Morcha (JMM), the Biju Janata Dal (BJD), and the Communist Party of India (CPI) were also inducted into the BRS.
The Telangana CM, popularly known as KCR, said in the coming days more leaders from other states would also join the BRS and together they would take on the BJP. On Thursday, Shishir Gamang said Odisha was likely to witness a new political coalition comprising all parties opposed to the ruling Biju Janata Dal (BJD), the BJP, and the Congress ahead of the 2024 general elections.
He also said that the party intends to field candidates in all 147 Assembly constituencies and 21 Lok Sabha seats in Odisha. Asked how a party with hardly any presence in the state would field so many candidates, he said BRS would have an understanding with “like-minded parties other than the BJD, Congress and BJP” and try to put up nominees in most seats. He said possible coalition partners could include the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), the Left parties, the Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD), the Samajwadi Party (SP), and other regional outfits.
He said the BRS would focus on southern Odisha, which has a large Telugu-speaking population. The party, according to him, hopes to bag at least five Lok Sabha seats including Koraput, Nabarangur, Aska, Berhampur and Kandhamal, and 35 Assembly segments in these parliamentary constituencies.
The 79-year-old Gamang is a tribal leader from southern Odisha, with a base in almost all constituencies under the Koraput parliamentary segment, which he has represented in the Lok Sabha nine times. He last contested from the constituency in 2014 on a Congress ticket, losing to the BJD’s Jhina Hikaka.
Meanwhile, former Rajya Sabha MP Chhatrapati Sambhaji Raje, who is the 13th descendant of Chhatrapati Shivaji, called on KCR at Pragati Bhavan, his office-cum-residence in Hyderabad, on Thursday.
The CM, according to a statement, hosted Sambhaji Raje for lunch and held discussions with him on several issues, including the political situation at length. On this occasion, Sambhaj Rraje presented the book Rajarshi Sahu Chhatrapati to KCR.
In a statement, the BRS on Friday said its parliamentary party meeting would be held on January 29 at Pragati Bhavan. KCR, according to the party, will set the party’s strategy for the upcoming parliamentary session and direct MPs about the issues to be discussed in Parliament.