By Sushil Kutty
The media has been writing and talking about “the KCR tactic” since long before the state of Telangana was born. That first tactic was successful, and today, Telangana is the youngest state in India. KCR is said to have paved the way for the formation of Telangana from the front from the word ‘go’. Then in 2018, KCR took another tack. Chief Minister K Chandrashekhar Rao dissolved the assembly and resigned.
Elections were held and the KCR tactic paid off. The Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) returned to power with great success. Nearly five years later, is another KCR tactic on the cards? Things have changed since September 2018, and the situation now is not the same as it was then. KCR, perhaps, may not own the situation like it used to.
Fortunately, KCR is not Arvind Kejriwal, his Delhi counterpart, for whom a state police force is a private army to settle scores with rivals. The only time the Telangana police under KCR went berserk was when four rapists were shot and killed in an encounter the day after they were arrested and taken to the “scene”. Then, TRS and KCR were roasted.
Today, the TRS faces challenges. And it is not the Congress that is the rival to take into account, it is the BJP. Perhaps the biggest rival of the two. The everywhere Congress slide was also mirrored in Telangana. The BJP, with loads of resources and persistent hunger for power, is a headache that turns into a recurring migraine.
The TRS, particularly KCR and their son and daughter, are fighting back. The Modi government has so far not placed its attack: the Alsatians, the central investigative agencies, on KCR and KTR, the son and heir of KCR. That is not to say that the BJP is indifferent, or that it gives TRS a long rope in the hope that KCR will in due course make a mistake and hang itself.
Nothing of that kind. K Chandrashekar Rao wants to do a Mamata in Telangana, that is, win a third consecutive term in office. The self-made politician is known for his close shaves with megalomania, and he likes his share of gibberish, traits that were on the tongue of Amit Shah, when the Union Home Minister landed in Hyderabad, he clashed with KCR and criticized him for trying to imitate Mamata Banerjee.
It’s also true that KCR’s encounters with tantric types, and the gibberish they download, guide much of their politics. For example, KCR is supposedly giving the state assembly a wide berth these days because a tantric told it to keep its distance from him if he wanted a guaranteed third term.
Amit Shah likes such gossip to make fun of the BJP’s rivals. For a long time, the Chief Minister of West Bengal, Mamata Banerjee, was in the sights of Amit Shah. But to Shah’s surprise and chagrin, ‘Didi’ had the last laugh, and now there is KCR, a Mamata wannabe, in Shah’s sights. The Union Home Secretary isn’t amused that KCR is following in Mamata’s footsteps.
BJP workers were killed in West Bengal, and BJP workers are also being killed in Telangana, Shah said at a rally in Hyderabad, accusing KCR of pining to turn Telangana into another West Bengal, conveniently forgetting that the BJP wants turn Telangana into another Uttar. Pradesh, with the bulldozer very much in mind.
Shah and the BJP were mute bystanders to the killings of BJP workers in West Bengal, but in Telangana, Shah has the audacity to tell BJP workers that the saffron party would go to great lengths to make sure the “murderers” in Telangana are judged. knowing full well that the BJP can do nothing unless it wins the lockdown, action and barrel of Telangana, which seems like a slim and meager possibility.
However, the bravado of the Union Home Secretary is worth emulating. The BJP is ready for the elections even if “they are held tomorrow”. The BJP believes that it will win without a doubt, because the TRS government is corrupt and incompetent, while a “double-decker” BJP government will ensure “rapid recovery” and “rapid development”.
The way the Modi government is blunting the KCR government is by depriving it of central funding to carry out many of the state government’s flagship welfare programs that benefit women, children, farmers and other oppressed people. Programs include the state government’s 2BHK housing scheme for the poor, which is in addition to the Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana. In Telangana, the KCR’s welfare programs have been the talk of the town, and are now withering due to politics over who will form the next government in Telangana, BJP or KCR? (IPA service)
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