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Hyderabad: TRS president and Chief Minister K. Chandrashekar Rao held a marathon meeting at Pragathi Bhavan on Friday with ministers, MPs and senior party leaders to discuss the party’s strategy for the Presidential election scheduled for July 18 as the deadline for filing nominations, June 29, is less than 20 days away.

The CM also reportedly discussed launching a new national political party, Bharatiya Rashtra Samiti (BRS), by the month-end to offer an alternative political agenda for the country for the Lok Sabha elections due in 2024.

He reportedly gathered feedback of party leaders who unanimously approved his proposal and extended complete support to the CM for playing a pivotal role in national politics.

The Chief Minister who had been staying at his farmhouse in Erravelli on the city outskirts since Friday last returned to Pragathi Bhavan and held the meeting soon after.

Official sources said all Cabinet ministers except Talasani Srinivas Yadav, who is on a trip to London along with his family members, were present in the meeting.

No decision was taken on what stand the TRS should take and it was decided to hold further rounds of meetings after clarity emerges on the names of candidates of the NDA and the UPA and what stand majority of the regional parties adopt.

The meeting decided to wait for the outcome of the Congress’ ongoing attempts to field a joint Opposition candidate and the meetings of Congress leader Mallikarjun Kharge with leaders of regional parties Sharad Pawar, M.K. Stalin, Uddhav Thackeray, H.D. Deve Gowda, Mamata Banerjee etc.

Interestingly, Assembly Speaker Pocharam Srinivas Reddy and Legislative Council chairman Gutha Sukender Reddy were learnt to have attended the meeting.

Assembly Chief Whip Dasyam Vinay Bhaskar, Lok Sabha members Kotha Prabhakar Reddy, Nama Nageswara Rao, Venkatesh Netha, Rajya Sabha members J. Santosh Kumar, V. Ravichandra and D. Damodar Rao, party whips in Assembly Guvvala Balaraju, Balka Suman besides MLC S. Madhusudhana Chary and former MP B. Vinod Kumar attended the meeting.

A majority of the leaders reportedly opined that the TRS should support the joint Opposition candidate to be fielded by regional parties and Left parties minus Congress and the TRS should not support a candidate proposed by the Congress.

In the event of regional parties supporting the Congress proposed candidate, the discussion on the TRS abstaining from voting came up for discussion. Iwas felt that if the TRS abstained from voting, it will benefit BJP-led NDA and invite criticism that the TRS and the BJP still continue to be ‘secret allies’ and defeat the very aim and purpose of Chandrashekar Rao declaring war against the BJP and forging an anti-BJP front for 2024 Lok Sabha polls.

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