Buoyed by the support for his call for a non-BJP, non-Congress third front ahead of the Lok Sabha elections scheduled next year, Telangana Chief Minister K Chandrashekar Rao on Monday announced that he is ready to take on the mantle of leading the proposed political front.
Rao said he is chalking out a programme to hold a series of meetings at the all-India level with various organisations, associations and individuals to firm up the plan. These meetings will be held, apart from Hyderabad, in cities such as Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai, Kolkata and Bengaluru, officials in the Chief Minister’s Office (CMO) said.
A day after West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee and former Jharkhand CM Hemant Soren lent support to Rao’s plan, former Chhattisgarh CM Ajit Jogi on Monday called to express solidarity. “Jogi said he will support KCR [as Rao is called in Telangana] in his efforts to form a front at the national level,’’ a CMO official said.
Rao had on the weekend said that people of the country are looking for a qualitative change in governance and in the society, as “the political system, whether ruled by Congress or BJP, has failed to deliver” over the last 70 years.
AIMIM president Asaduddin Owaisi had immediately welcomed Rao’s statement and said that regional parties will play a crucial role in the next General Election.
On Sunday and Monday, many local leaders and representatives from all religions met the Telangana CM and declared their support for him to lead a third front at the national level. Many government employees also met Rao and welcomed his plans —many, including MLAs, MPs and leaders of his party, the Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS), raised slogans like “desh ka neta KCR (KCR is nation’s leader).”
Officials said Rao may soon meet retired IAS, IPS, IFS and IRS officers who were part of the administration to learn from their vast experience. The Telangana CM, they said, would also like to meet retired defence personnel, legal luminaries, representatives of all-India farmers’ associations and employees associations of all states and the Central government.
He will also meet economists and retired Union Finance Secretaries, an official said.
“Work is on to organise these meetings. The CM is busy chalking out the programme,’’ the official said.
Like the ruling Telugu Desam Party in neighbouring Andhra Pradesh, the TRS in Telangana is unhappy with the BJP-led Central government for ignoring demands of the two states, according to sources. “The Centre is not responding to any number of requests to approve projects or fund important irrigation and infrastructure projects, or finance drinking water projects such as Mission Bhagiratha. There is simply no response from the Centre, which is angering everyone,’’ an official said.
Telangana is also peeved that Prime Minister Narendra Modi has not responded to the state’s plea to increase quota to Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes and minorities. Rao is believed to be of the view that the Centre should leave it to the state governments to decide on reservation.
BJP: KCR trying to insure himself
Hyderabad: The BJP alleged on Monday that Telangana Chief Minister K Chandrashekar Rao’s pitch for a “non-BJP, non-Congress front” at the Centre was aimed at insuring himself against possible prosecution for corrupt practices. State BJP spokesman Krishna Saagar Rao claimed the CM’s pitch was aimed at elevating himself in national politics which would help him with a tag of “vendetta politics” if some agency were to target him for his government’s “corrupt” practices. “Tell me one initiative or one scheme or one act of the central government that he opposed in the last four years,” he said. —ENS