EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW| CBI, ED are extended arms of BJP, Modi: KTR
The BRS working president also talks about his party's national ambitions and assures that his father K Chandrashekar Rao will stay as Telangana's CM for a third consecutive term.
Published: 09th March 2023 12:24 AM | Last Updated: 09th March 2023 10:32 AM | A+A A-
HYDERABAD: Hitting out at the BJP government over its handling of central agencies, Telangana IT Minister KT Rama Rao (KTR) on Wednesday said, "all the agencies... CBI, ED, I-T or whatever, are the extended arms of BJP, of Modiji. More importantly, they are an integral part of the NDA."
Interacting with TNIE's editors and reporters as part of the inaugural episode of Hyderabad Dialogues — an initiative to highlight issues facing the State — the Bharat Rashtra Samithi (BRS) working president did not mince his words even as the Damocles Sword of the central agencies hangs over his sister K Kavitha’s head.
Kavitha — who has been on the radar of the Directorate of Enforcement — was earlier summoned today for questioning in connection with the Delhi Excise Policy scam case.
Citing the ongoing economic turmoil engulfing the Adani group and the bribery scam involving Karnataka BJP MLA Madal Virupakshappa and his son Prashanth, the BRS leader questioned whether anyone has ever heard of a CBI, ED or I-T raid on a BJP leader.
"Why is the Prime Minister silent on Adani even after Rs 12 lakh crores market cap has evaporated? Why is there no action after the contractors’ association in Karnataka complained of 40 per cent 'commissions' in the State? Their own MLA claimed it takes Rs 2,500 crore to get Chief Ministership. Where is ED? Is it alive or dead,” he wonders, adding "why should one listen to PM’s Mann ki Baat when he doesn’t to our Mann ki Baat?"
He also added that the Central government has been treating Telangana like "an enemy nation imposing economic sanctions" and depriving it of much-needed funds and loans for development work.
KTR, also called Ramanna by his followers, has his critics but they too grudgingly agree he is not the "typical dynast" of Indian politics. The minister, who holds master’s degrees in biotech and business administration, has carved a niche for himself ever since he entered politics in 2009 after leaving his corporate job. Equally at ease in politics as in the corporate world, he sounds pragmatic on the coming State elections and the big battle for the Lok Sabha in 2024.
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'Congress is past its expiry date'
Deftly handling volleys from the team, the BRS working president clarifies his party, which made its national ambitions clear, isn’t aiming to win all. “It takes time to plan strategies. We want to focus on Parliamentary elections and relay our Telangana model. We will see what happens,” he says but stubbornly remains non-committal on alliances.
Denying an alliance with JD (S) in Karnataka and brushing aside the glaring differences in the non-BJP camp about joining the Congress bandwagon, he believes the opposition has to beat the BJP at its own game. "Congress is not rallying around Congress! Why would anyone want to rally around it? How could you believe someone who lays down arms even before the war begins and trust that you will win?" he remarks.
Pressed on Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Stalin’s statement that parties should dismiss the idea of a third front etc, KTR with a straight bat admits there is a commonality between the BRS and DMK in the view that BJP shouldn’t retain power.
"He has his opinion. We have ours. We will see what happens later...see wherever there is a face-off between the Congress and BJP, the latter has an advantage. Wherever regional parties are strong, we are actually giving a fight to the BJP. The biggest liability today is the Congress," he says, adding that the Congress is "past its expiry date" in Telangana too, which goes to polls in December.
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'KCR will win three consecutive terms'
Exuding confidence, the BRS leader adds that his father K Chandrashekar Rao (KCR) will win for the third consecutive term. "He will be the first chief minister in south India to win three consecutive terms. I have no doubt. No one has done it before including Jayalalithaa, Rajasekhar Reddy, MGR, Chandrababu Naidu or Namboodiripad."
Declining to comment on the plea against Telangana Governor Tamilisai Soundararajan, he is, however, acerbic on the BJP leaders, recalling that the saffron party had lost deposit in 107 constituencies in the 2018 assembly elections.
"What do they have to show? The Centre hasn’t sanctioned medical, engineering or nursing colleges, and hasn’t kept promises made in the AP Reorganisation Act. We have the courage to ask the electorate, do they?"
To a query on how he proposes to fight an aggressive BJP, he mocks the saffron party calling them "WhatsApp students who follow their WhatsApp vice-chancellor."
"We will put up an effective fight. If you ask me how will I fight? I will have to check my WhatsApp," he laughs off.
When reminded of the fact that the BJP had given his party a tough fight in the Munugode bypoll, KTR says there are no moral victories in politics, adding, "Jo jeeta wohi sikander."