Telangana Chief Minister and Telangana Rashtra Samithi president K. Chandrashekhar Rao (KCR) is aiding and abetting the BJP in the State to stymie the Congress, the party’s State unit chief A. Revanth Reddy said in an interview to The Hindu.
The BJP recently held its National Executive meeting in Hyderabad, making its ambition to expand its presence in the State amply clear.
“Mr. Rao is well aware that the anti-incumbency against his government is rising and the TRS’s vote share is shrinking, which is why he wants to force a multi-corner contest and for that he is covertly helping the BJP. His only target is to stall the Congress, because we are the only viable alternative against him,” Mr. Reddy said, answering a question on whether he fears that the BJP’s expansion plans could push the Congress to an insignificant position in the State. Mr. Rao, he added, wants a return of the 2014 Assembly election arithmetic where with just 34% vote share, the TRS managed to sail through gaining 63 seats.
As far as the BJP is concerned, he added that the Congress has nothing to worry though it remains in an “alert mode”. “Telangana voters are tired of the eight years of the Modi government in the Centre and eight years of the KCR government in the State. Both of them have failed to keep the lofty promises they made,” Mr. Reddy said. Despite Mr. Reddy’s assertion, the Congress in recent Huzurabad by-elections could manage to get only one per cent votes. TRS rebel and BJP candidate Eatala Rajender had an emphatic victory. Mr. Reddy said the Congress’s electoral presence can’t be discounted on the basis of Huzurabad bypolls since the voters voted strategically against the TRS in the elections.
‘Dignity and freedom’
The Congress has already kick-started its campaign in the State in May making a host of promises aimed at the agriculture sector — branding it as “Warangal declaration”. Every three months, Mr. Reddy said the party would present part of its plan. The TRS is also heavily invested itself in welfare politics. Can the Congress counter the TRS with an alternative list of sops? “Telangana voters do not vote for handouts. They vote for their dignity and freedom. KCR is running an autocratic rule. In his tenure, not a single minister is visible, there is no State secretariat. He has publicly declared that the secretariat is wherever he sits, as if he is a monarch and not an elected Chief Minister,” Mr. Reddy answered.
Mr. Reddy’s hopes on the Congress’s revival is not shared by his colleagues, many of who have declared open rebellion against his “autocratic ways”. During the Opposition’s Presidential nominee Yashwant Sinha’s visit to the State, Mr. Reddy had given a diktat that no Congress leader should welcome him, since he has come to meet the Chief Minister Mr. Rao. Even after his direction, a few Congress leaders turned up at the airport and others have been threatening to quit. Mr. Reddy said that such differences do not worry him. It is part of the Congress culture. “I want to work for the workers of the party not for the leaders,” he said.
Mr. Reddy also said that the Congress was unlikely to repeat the Maha Kutami experiment. “So far, we do not have any plan to have alliance but ultimately these are the decisions that the central leadership will take closer to the elections,” he said.