Our main fight is with MIM, and not BJP: KTR

The BJP is deliberately communalising the GHMC campaign by creating Hindu-Muslim divide, said TRS working president and Municipal Administration Minister K.T. Rama Rao during an interview with The Hindu on Wednesday.  

Municipal Administration Minister K.T. Rama Rao, who is spearheading the TRS campaign in the GHMC elections, and single-handedly taking on the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) that has upped the ante with emotive issues, argues the party has not fallen into BJP’s “trap” of diverting the campaign narrative from local and development aspects to religious issues.

Excerpts of an interview Mr. Rama Rao gave to The Hindu on Tuesday:

Is the BJP successful in luring the TRS into its own narrative on the campaign style?

While local issues are our priority, the BJP is deliberately communalising the campaign repeatedly by creating Hindu-Muslim divide. So we need to respond to ensure people are not misled. By countering their allegations, our party is setting the record straight. If you want to run business in Hyderabad, if you want investments to come, if you want jobs to be generated, the fundamental thing is law and order and peace. Religious harmony cannot be compromised. It is my bounded duty as a Minister to ensure peace. We are the only party that is speaking on development and the initiatives of the government to ensure Hyderabad’s growth engine continues.

Your entire focus of criticism is on BJP and not other parties?

BJP’s speciality is spewing venom. Pure rhetoric and whipping up emotions is their agenda. We have seen how provocative atmosphere led to riots in New Delhi where the country’s power of seat is situated. Our main fight is with MIM and not the BJP, while Congress is nowhere in the fray.

Since the BJP has been making tall claims of Central assistance to Telangana and Hyderabad, I specifically want to ask them about their contribution.

While Telangana has contributed more than ₹ 2.70 lakh crores as taxes, it received less than ₹ 1.5 lakh crores. I understand the federal spirit and I am not demanding that the entire money be given back to Telangana as the Central government has certain other responsibilities. But they have not contributed anything over and above what Telangana should get as per the constitutional obligation.

What is the reason for advancing the GHMC polls? Was the TRS afraid of further erosion of popularity after recent election results?

In fact, we have the guts to face the elections. This is the first time elections to GHMC are being held even before its tenure is over. We could have postponed like earlier governments did if we wanted to, but we have the confidence to go to people. So where is the question of fear. Every party has a political strategy and we had our own and there is nothing wrong in it.

Has your party’s efforts to weaken the Congress indirectly helped BJP to gain ground in Telangana?

If people want to leave Congress, it is their decision to join the TRS. We didn’t weaken the Congress but its present status is due to its inherent weakness. If others are cashing in on it, I don’t find any fault in it. In democracy people change parties and loyalties.

Parents are worried over the high fee structure in schools and they have been fighting against it. What is your party stand on it?

We have appointed a committee headed by Prof. Tirupati Rao that has made certain recommendations like enhancing only 10% hike every year.

But parents seem to be demanding a regulatory commission on fee issues. I will certainly take this to the notice of the Chief Minister for his intervention.

People of Andhra Pradesh origin in the GHMC area overwhelmingly voted for TRS in the last elections. Are you confident of their continued support and is any specific effort being made to seek their support?

As Hyderabadis their priority will be totally different in these elections. They will be concerned about local issues like water, roads, drainage and employment. It doesn’t matter to which region they hail from or which community they belong to. I don’t think there is any exclusive effort needed to impress them upon as they are aware of city’s development under TRS rule. We are confident of getting votes on our performance.

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Printable version | Jan 21, 2021 2:03:20 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Hyderabad/our-main-fight-is-with-mim-and-not-bjp-ktr/article33179149.ece

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