KCR ver­sus Shah

KCR bris­tles at the BJP’s “bla­tant lies”, as Shah & Co. con­tinue with their ex­pan­sion­ist plans

India Today - - STATES - —Amar­nath K. Menon

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

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