With election temperatures rising in Telangana, the TRS and Congress seem to be at each other’s throats as the war of words between the two main contenders in the region, set to become a new state on June 2, is showing no signs of abating.
As voting nears for the Lok Sabha polls in Telangana (April 30), where simultaneous elections would be held for 119 Assembly and 17 Lok Sabha seats, the barbs between TRS supremo K Chandrasekar Rao (KCR), Telangana PCC president Ponnala Lakshmaiah is getting nastier with both challenging each other for a debate on the backwardness or development of Telangana.
The contrast can’t get more stark than this. Not long ago, bonhomie marked the relations between the two parties after the Telangana Bill was passed by Parliament as there were expectations that they would merge or at least have an electoral alliance.
But with TRS deciding to shut the door on Congress vis-à-vis both options and deciding to go it alone, the two parties seem to be in a no holds barred attack against each other.
The hostility between the two parties which once considered closer on the ‘ideological’ platform scaled new heights in recent time after the TRS chief termed Lakshmaiah as the “agent” of Rajya Sabha MP KVP Ramachandra Rao, a Seemandhra Congress leader who vociferously objected to the formation of Telangana state.
Reacting to this, Lakshmaiah described KCR as an opportunist and alleged that he sold TRS party tickets in the elections.
Joining the chorus with his father, KCR’s son K T Ramarao today demanded an apology from Sonia Gandhi for “delay” in formation of Telangana.
“Ten years back, Sonia Gandi promised Telangana if they come into power in both State and Centre. Now they (Congress) owe an explanation as to why it took ten years for the state formation. Due to the deal, many young people lost their lives,” Ramarao fumed at Congress.
He also demanded that the Congress apologise to the families of those lost their lives for the formation the state.
Addressing a massive public meeting yesterday at Nizamabad KCR said, “he (Lakshmaiah) wonders where was the destruction (of Telangana) caused. I will show him how and where Telangana’s resources, culture and heritage were badly hit (by successive Seemandhra rulers). I am ready for debate on this issue wherever you ask me to come.”
Taking strong exception to the increased Congress attacks against him, KCR said throwing muck at him has become the sole agenda of Congress.
“Congress has a sole agenda of throwing muck on me. If you (Congress leaders) have guts stop criticising me and spell out your policies,” he demanded.
Lakshmaiah on the other hand, said KCR failed to keep his promise of merger of TRS in Congress once Telangana state formation is done.
“KCR is an opportunist. He does not have stability. He formed an alliance with us in 2004 elections. Again he sailed with Telugu Desam in 2009. Now he talks about Third Front,” Lakshmaiah said.
Ridiculing the campaign by KCR that reconstruction of Telangana is possible only with TRS, the Telangana PCC chief said the regional outfit is a family run set up.
KCR and his daughter Kavita are in the poll fray from Medak and Nizamabad Lok Sabha constituencies while KCR’s son K T Ramarao and nephew T Harish Rao are contesting from Assembly seats from Sirisilla and Siddipet constituencies respectively.
Two bedroom houses for weaker sections, Rs 50,000 crore for Dalit welfare and Rs 25,000 crore for backward classes are among the slew of promises made by TRS in its election manifesto released last week.
While Congress manifesto ‘voiced’ inclusive growth in its manifesto by promising grant of “one-time relief” of Rs 10,000 each for 50 lakh families of farmers in the region and a similar one-time grant of Rs one lakh to each of the 4.5 lakh women self-help groups for their livelihoods.
“Yeh (Congress manifesto) Diwali ke liye hai. TRS ka diwala (bankruptcy) ke liye hai,” Union Minister Jairam Ramesh said during the release of manifesto recently.