Working president of the Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) K.T. Rama Rao has said that his party was not part of Opposition as a front in the Presidential election but supporting the candidature of Mr. Yashwant Sinha in its individual capacity.
Speaking to reporters in New Delhi after Mr. Sinha had filed his nomination, Mr. Rama Rao said the TRS supported the former to defeat the BJP for heading an “autocratic, dictatorial, undemocratic and unconstitutional” rule in the country. Since the President occupied the highest constitutional post in a democracy, it was decided to defeat the BJP candidate in the election to save democracy.
The TRS looked forward to the victory of Mr. Sinha and will play its part in appealing to parties other than those that had joined hands now to make common cause.
Asked whether the social background of BJP candidate Draupadi Murmu as a tribal did not evoke sympathy of TRS for her, Mr. Rama Rao said she may be a good person but she stood on the wrong side. “Bheeshma was also a noble person in the epic Mahabharat but he stood with Kauravas in the battle against Pandavas”.
He recalled that Ms. Draupadi was a Cabinet Minister in a coalition government of Odisha that included the BJP when tribals were killed in police firing to quell violence against the setting up of a steel plant at Kalingapatnam. But, she did not condemn the incident. Her own village in Odisha did not have power supply, he remarked.
He questioned the commitment of the BJP for the uplift of tribals citing the merger of seven tribal dominated mandals of erstwhile Khammam district with Andhra Pradesh post-bifurcation of erstwhile State. A resolution passed by Telangana Assembly seeking hike in reservation for tribals was pending with the Centre for past four years. The setting up of a tribal university in Telangana which was assured by the Bifurcation law went unattended.
Mr. Rama Rao warned the BJP that it could not do politics taking cover behind a tribal candidate. It was wrong to imagine that parties would fall in line to extend support to such a candidate.
He blamed Prime Minister Narendra Modi for resorting to threats to pull down elected governments. A revolt against this was inevitable and, may be, it might start from Telangana under the leadership of Chief Minister K. Chandrasekhar Rao. The Central government overlooked Telangana in release of funds though the State was the fourth largest contributor to Indian economy by mobilising ₹3.65 lakh crore in eight years. He offered to resign as Minister if the Centre could prove that it had given back to the State more than what it got in the form of taxes.