With eyes firmly on BJP, here are the routes KCR wants to explore
Hyderabad: The current vigor of Telangana Chief Minister K. Chandrashekhar Rao against the National Democratic Alliance led by Narendra Modi is reminiscent of the 14-year struggle for statehood under the leadership of KCR.
KCR was notably alone when he resigned as deputy chairman of the Telugu Desham party-led government in 2001 to plunge into the statehood movement. He not only had to face his mentor Chandrababu Naidu, but also the powerful forces of Andhra supporting the powers that were then.
Yet KCR’s unwavering determination saw the fight through. The formation of Telangana materialized the five-decade-old efforts of Marri Chenna Reddy and many others.
KCR had then demonstrated a clever and efficient sense of organization. He formed sectoral joint action committees and drafted political parties, government employees, members of the intelligentsia, artists, industrial workers, representatives of trade and commerce groups, and students. He also got more than 100 lawmakers from all parties in the Telangana region out of their elected positions in favor of the statehood demand.
“This whole story is an appropriate response to people taking our leader’s plans for a national party with a pinch of salt,” said V. Prakash, spokesman for TRS and chairman of the Telangana Water Resources Development Corporation.
“Modi is a giant with a foot of clay”
KCR hinted at the launch of a national outfit, likely to be called the Bharatiya Rastra Samithi (BRS), during the Telangana Rashtra Samithi plenary in Hyderabad on April 28. Many were skeptical of his suggestion, and with good reason.
KCR leads a young and relatively small state with 19 seats in the 545-member parliament. The idiom of regional identity and regional pride is the guiding principle of its political presence. Will he be able to take on the Modi-led NDA at a time when Congress itself is wrestling with this prospect?
“Modi is a giant with a foot of clay. His eight-year rule has sparked strong opposition to power among all sections and his party wants to flourish on a communal divide. All this leaves a big void and the Congress party, plunged into a leadership crisis, has failed to propose an alternative program. This is where our leader will come to the fore,” said Y. Satish Reddy of TRS’s social media wing.
V. Prakash, quoted earlier, says TRS plans to counter communal hatred of the BJP – “shown by introducing draconian laws such as the Citizenship Act” – by showcasing the progress “Telangana has made in agriculture , irrigation, education, industries and IT in the past eight years.
Apparently as part of this presentation campaign, the KCR government on June 2, coinciding with the formation day of Telangana, announced in the national media its flagship projects of Kaleswaram, a mega irrigation dam constructed across the Godavari, Kakatiya Mission, Bhagiradha Mission and Rythu Bandhu.
KCR appears to be taking a leaf from its West Bengal counterpart Mamata Banerjee’s book to halt the forward march of the Modi-led BJP.
Ahead of the 2021 Bengal elections, while the BJP was discussing religion and immigrants, Banerjee’s Trinamool Congress stuck to promoting social welfare programs. This helped his party return to power. KCR’s plans appear similar.
Syed Aminul Hasan Jafri, a journalist turned AIMIM legislator, said The Thread that the NDA government under Modi’s leadership provided “a conducive environment” for the emergence of viable policy alternatives.
“The Law Enforcement Branch, Central Bureau of Investigation and Income Tax Departments have been misused to target political rivals like never before. The sense of North-South divide is growing rapidly. In the deconcentration of central allocations by the finance commissions, the spirit of federalism is also diluted. The Center imposes brakes on state borrowing in the name of the Fiscal Responsibility and Fiscal Stewardship Act, casting a shadow over state welfare and development programs. This worrying trend gives regional parties the opportunity to play a key role in national politics,” Jafri said.
BJP-TRS clash in prospect
BJP leaders including Modi, Amit Shah and party chairman JP Nadda are set to descend on the state capital of Telangana for the national executive meeting in the first week of July with an ambitious plan to take storm the KCR citadel in the upcoming state elections.
But the TRS patriarch, at the same time, is preparing for a similar sort of confrontation. KCR invited Yashwant Sinha, the presidential candidate sponsored by the opposition, for a campaign in his home country. Sinha is to interact with lawmakers from TRS, Congress, AIMIM and other parties in Telangana. The KCR party has Chevella MP Ranjith Reddy on the 11-member committee comprising the opposition parties for the presidential election campaign.
KCR’s day-to-day concerns are now about the focus of his national party, a source in the chief minister’s office said. The Threadasking to remain anonymous.
KCR and AAP chief minister in Delhi, Arvind Kejriwal, paid tribute to soldiers and protesters killed in agitation against farm laws in May. In an attempt to showcase its Rythu Bandhu scheme, which aims to end the distress in agriculture by offering financial aid of Rs 800 per acre per year in Telangana, KCR has also extended financial aid to relatives of slain farmers in the agitation against the NDA. government agricultural laws in Punjab.
KCR, when it led the movement for the creation of states, had established contacts with activists fighting for the creation of 14 smaller states. A TRS leader even recalled how KCR was instrumental in floating Bundelkhand Rajya Samithi and Vidarbha Rajya Samithi in 2003. During his stint as Union Labor Minister under the government of A United Progressive Alliance, KCR has also developed contacts with union activists. “We tried to build our national party in different parts of the country with the help of these contacts,” V. Prakash said.