HYDERABAD: TRS working president KT Rama Rao on Sunday asserted that a third term for the KCR government was a certainty, debunking the theory that the ruling party would be felled by anti-incumbency.
Claiming that the TRS would be the first party in south India to score a hat-trick, he said the evidence was there for all to see. "KCR is a reformer, performer and transformer. He is a leader who has constantly rewritten history, be it in achieving statehood for Telangana, constructing the Kaleshwaram Lift Irrigation Scheme or providing 24x7 power to farmers. So it's stating the obvious when I tell you that the TRS will come back to power in the 2023 elections," said a buoyant Rama Rao.
In an interaction with the media ahead of the 21st anniversary of the Telangana Rashtra Samithi, Rama Rao declared that K Chandrasekhar Rao government was a democratic one which did not use State institutions to target its opponents "unlike the Narendra Modi government" at the Centre.
Respect is a two-way street
Sounding both combative and confident, the IT Minister sought to remind Governor Tamilisai Soundararajan that respect is a two-way street. "We are a democratically elected government while the Governor has converted Raj Bhavan into a Rajakeeyala (political) Bhavan," he said.
On the matter of the State not providing Tamilisai with a chopper to travel to districts, he asked, "Is there anything wrong in going by road? The PM travels by road as does our Chief Minister. I travel by road all the time." Rama Rao dismissed the Congress as a "dead party which was tried, tested and dusted".
"What sort of a party is the Congress? When they hold a meeting, eight out of the 10 seniors do not attend," the Minister said with a smirk. Daring the Modi government to arrest him just as it had done in the case of Jignesh Mevani for a tweet on the Prime Minister, the TRS working president reminded Modi that he should not remain a "RSS ideologue" but speak as the Prime Minister of the nation.
In the same breath, Rama Rao felt that Tamilisai ought to remember that her post was that of Governor and not the Telangana BJP president.
We’re letting police do their job, not shielding anyone, asserts KTR
Going back to the anti-incumbency question, Rama Rao said it was a natural factor for any party be it the BJP, Congress or the TRS. Even the four BJP MPs in Telangana will face anti- incumbency.
"Nizamabad BJP MP (Dharmapuri Arvind) who assured that he would bring a turmeric board in five days has had to swallow his words. Similarly, MP Bandi Sanjay who failed to bring Central funds to Karimnagar too will face anti-incumbency," he said.
Rama Rao also spoke on the recent crimes, in which the names of TRS leaders had surfaced. "We are not shielding anyone. In fact, we are letting the police do their job. The Ramayampet municipal chairman has been arrested. If his role in the suicide of a mother and her realtor son is proven, he will be suspended from the party and be brought to further justice. Local BJP leaders are responsible for Sai Ganesh’s suicide in Khammam. An abetment of suicide case should be registered against the BJP leader who provided a pesticide bottle to Ganesh," Rama Rao said.
He added that the saffron party leaders were provoking youth to resort to extreme steps. He compared this to Prime Minister's reaction or lack thereof in the Lakhimpur case, in which eight people were run over by a Minister's son. "Prime Minister Modi should say something when some sections of the society are under threat," he said, terming the Central government as "hopeless".
The Modi government has never helped Telangana. "Rubbing salt in our wounds, the Centre accorded national project status to Upper Bhadra in Karnataka and failed to give similar status to any irrigation project in Telangana," he said.
Asked about early polls to Assembly elections, Rama Rao said that the elections would be held in 2023. Asked about in which month the elections will be held, he said: "I am not an astrologer or a pundit. The Election Commission of India will decide the dates."
However, he said that TRS was enjoying a lot of public support and party's base was intact. "The TRS is the only voice for Telangana and protecting the interests of the State in an uncompromising fashion," he said.
Asked about the main opposition to TRS, Rama Rao laughed it off saying that there was no strong opposition to the pink party. "Our main rival can be KA Paul, YS Sharmila or RS Praveen Kumar," Rama Rao said with a broad smile.
On AICC vice-president Rahul Gandhi's visit to Telangana next month and its likely impact on the State politics, Rama Rao, in a tone laced with sarcasm, said: "Ooh, we are very scared of his visit. However, maybe he can try winning in his own Lok Sabha (Amethi) seat first."
Coming down heavily on the State BJP leaders, he said that the taxes collected by Centre from Telangana were higher than what it was getting from the Centre. "I am not a fool to say that everything collected from Telangana should be spent here by the Union government. But, the State BJP leaders are saying that the Central government is even paying salary to the Chief Minister. The BJP leaders are treating Telangana people like beggars," the IT Minister alleged.
STEPS TO SUSTAIN SIRCILLA TEXTILE PARK
Reacting to a report that appeared in these columns under the headline 'Neglected, Sircilla Textile Park is on verge of closure', Rama Rao said that the industrialists wanted power subsidy. "But, power subsidy alone cannot solve their problems. We will find some measures to sustain the textile park," he said.
Tried, tested & dusted, Cong a dead party: Min
Rama Rao dismissed the Congress as a "dead party which was tried, tested and dusted". "What sort
of a party is the Congress? When they hold a meeting, eight out of the 10 seniors do not attend," the Minister said with a smirk