KCR versus Shah
KCR bristles at the BJP’s “blatant lies”, as Shah & Co. continue with their expansionist plans
On May 24, as Amit Shah was concluding his three-day tour of the state, Chief Minister K. Chandrasekhar Rao addressed a news conference in Hyderabad. Evidently ticked off by the BJP president’s assertions that the party’s southern push would begin from Telangana, the CM rubbished the BJP chief’s claims on central funding of Rs 1 lakh crore to the state as “blatant lies”. Demanding an apology for “belittling” the state, a combative KCR dared Shah to prove his claim.
KCR is peeved because Telangana was among the few states that “contributed more revenue to the Centre than what we got in return”. Shah got under his skin by criticising the state government for failing to utilise central funds and shoddy implementation of the Narendra Modi government’s flagship programmes like Swachh Bharat.
“Since the inception of Telangana, the state has received only Rs 67, 390 crore. I wonder how Shah can say that the Centre has given Rs 1 lakh crore. It is a blatant lie,” thundered KCR. He also ridiculed Shah’s much publicised lunch with Dalits, claiming the food served was cooked in a neighbouring village.
However, the angry CM was full of praise for the prime minister. “He (Modi) is doing a good job, there is not a single case of corruption in three years,” KCR told reporters. “He has good plans for the country too. I even supported him during demonetisation. In fact, I was the first, while even the chief ministers of BJP-ruled states remained silent.”
What’s really got the CM’s goat is the
BJP’s strident campaign to try and emerge as an alternative to his Telangana Rashtra Samithi. The saffron party has been making overtures to TRS supporters, in particular those who’ve been sidelined since the party came to power in the state.
The BJP has also been opposing KCR’s move to raise reservation for Muslims from 4 to 12 per cent. Passed in the state assembly already, the bill is pending approval from the Centre. The BJP evidently finds challenging it a useful plank to boost its own poll prospects. KCR also needs Parliament approval for his plan to raise the number of assembly seats from 119 to 153 so that he can accommodate more midrung TRS leaders as legislators.
Analysts reason that in being defiant, KCR is keeping his options open. If all else fails, he can always accuse the BJP of nixing his decisions. KCR claims to have taken 365 big-ticket decisions in the past three years, which “makes Telangana a model not just for other states but countries too. We are striving to be a bangaru (golden) Telangana”.
Amit Shah and the BJP plan to counter KCR with a campaign to achieve “samajika Telangana, where social justice will prevail”, says state party spokesperson Krishna Sagar Rao. The BJP has deployed 8,000 full-time workers, including many with motorbikes (as in Uttar Pradesh), to complete a “stock-taking” by June 12. It’s all part of the plan to stir up a saffron surge in Telangana.
WHAT’S GOT KCR’S GOAT IS THE BJP TRYING TO PROJECT ITSELF AS A COUNTER TO TRS
OPEN FIST KCR at the press conference in Hyderabad on May 24