No one trusts KCR, says Nara Lokesh

Nara Lokesh, who is contesting assembly elections for the first time, feels it is "impossible" to imagine an alternative force without the support of either the Congress or the BJP.

He, however, wants the national parties to be prepared to play a supporting role if regional parties including Telugu Desam Party (TDP) win good number of seats in the Lok Sabha polls.

"All coalitions have either the BJP or the Congress. But there is a role for regional parties at national level. So, I believe an alternative front minus the Congress or the BJP does not exist. It is impossible to imagine," Mr Lokesh told PTI in an interview.

He is contesting from the Mangalagiri assembly segment, a seat which the TDP has not won since 1985. His main rival is sitting YSRCP MLA, Alla Ramakrishna Reddy, who had defeated the Telugu Desam candidate by 12 votes in 2014.

Asserting that India needs a prime minister who listens to states, the 36-year-old TDP leader says "voices of states" should not be "choked" and the federal spirit need to be maintained as he accused Prime Minister Narendra Modi of "match fixing" with Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) and YSR Congress Party (YSRCP) to defeat the TDP at any cost.

Mr Lokesh, the incumbent IT minister and a member of the legislative council, says he does not "subscribe" to an idea of a "non-BJP and non-Congress" front being toyed by Telangana Chief Minister K Chandrashekar Rao, also known as KCR.

"No one trusts KCR. Everyone knows his narrative and are smart enough to understand. It (non-BJP, non-Congress) does not work. I do not subscribe to KCR's idea," he says.

Asked if the national parties should play a supporting role, Mr Lokesh says, "It will depend on numbers. If regional parties have strong number, definitely the Congress might end up supporting."

He argues that the next government should have a strong state representation because the nation is strong only if states are strong.

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