The new weapon in KCR’s political arsenal, Dalit Bandhu, is meant to ensure that the TRS wins the upcoming Huzurabad by-election in north Telangana. Everyone welcomes the programme as the stated objective is to make SCs self-reliant. However, as KCR himself admitted, the real purpose is to reap a rich harvest of votes in the bypoll. The scheme envisages giving Rs 10 lakh in cash each to the SC beneficiaries to help them start their own small businesses.
The chief minister, at a meeting with SC representatives at his residence the other day, explained how he was going to hand-hold them to lead a life with their heads held high. Clearly in an expansive mood, he said he would not hesitate spending even up to Rs 1 lakh crore, completely unmindful of the possibility of other sections like the BCs and minorities demanding a similar share from the Budget. This despite the fact that the size of the state Budget is not more than Rs 2.3 lakh crore.
In the past, KCR had stated in the Assembly that he has several schemes up his sleeve and that when he begins implementing them one after the other, opposition parties will have to run for cover. In other words, the main intention of any major scheme is to defeat political rivals. It remains to be seen if the new scheme of empowering SCs would be implemented across the board or whether it would go the way his other high-sounding promises during the heady days of Telangana movement went, like making a member of the SC community the chief minister of the state and allotting three acres of land to each SC family. KCR should prove his critics wrong by implementing the Dalit Bandhu across the state with the same zeal he is showing now, as, at the moment, it is restricted to Huzurabad, the only Assembly segment selected as pilot project.