The Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) has launched a scathing attack on Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister and TDP chief N Chandrababu Naidu for his campaign in Hyderabad in the run-up to the Telangana election. Accusing him of meddling in and trying to sabotage the state’s politics, Telangana Chief Minister and TRS chief K Chandrashekar Rao and other party leaders have said they will teach Naidu a lesson by “interfering in Andhra Pradesh politics by supporting anti-TDP parties”.
The TDP is contesting the elections as a part of the Prajakutami alliance, also comprising Congress, Telangana Jana Samithi and CPI.
Although several senior leaders of the BJP and the Congress, including Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath and Congress president Rahul Gandhi, are campaigning for their parties in Telangana, it is the presence of the Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister that appears to have riled the TRS the most.
TDP and Naidu are seen as “anti-Telangana” because of their opposition to the bifurcation of the state before 2014. While TDP still has some presence in Telangana, it is considered an “Andhra’’ party, and the ruling TRS is now trying to project the election as a fight for Telangana pride.
Speaking at Chevella at Praja Ashirwad Sabha on Sunday, KCR said, “The choice for people is very clear. On one side is TRS which fought for Telangana. On the other side is Congress which did nothing for 58 years. Another is Chandrababu Naidu who claims he built Hyderabad. Quli Qutub Shah should commit suicide? Naidu has become a mental case. It is my duty to inform you that you should think carefully before voting. TRS is on one side and all the old artists are on the other side. Why fall into the trap when you know what is good for you?’’
“Naidu claims he put Hyderabad on world map. Then why couldn’t he provide 24-hour electricity supply to Telangana,” asked KCR.
Speaking at Patancheru, a suburb of Hyderabad, KCR emphasised that Telangana does not discriminate against people of Andhra Pradesh. “Patancheru is known as mini India because people from across the country have settled here. I want to remind my brothers and sisters from Andhra that you are all Telangana ‘biddalu’. In our four-and-a-half years’ rule, we have considered you citizens of Telangana. Those of you who are eligible for my government’s schemes will receive them. We should all live together happily,” KCR said.
The TDP is contesting 13 Assembly seats and Naidu is campaigning for candidates fielded in constituencies in and around Hyderabad. Questioning what the Andhra Chief Minister is doing in Telangana, minister and KCR’s son K T Rama Rao said Saturday, “Only KCR can teach a befitting lesson to Naidu. He did it once and sent him packing to Amaravati but shameless Naidu is back claiming that he developed Hyderabad. KCR will interfere in Andhra politics, if necessary, and ensure that Naidu’s political career ends once and for all.’’
In fact, with three days left for campaigning to end, all Telangana ministers are going after Naidu. Irrigation Minister T Harish Rao on Sunday said, “Telangana people should be wary of the sinister designs of Naidu. TDP wants important portfolios in Telangana if the alliance comes to power — home, irrigation and industries — so that Naidu can manipulate in a way that Andhra benefits,’’ Harish Rao said.
Naidu campaigned in Hyderabad for the third time Sunday. “Nobody can prevent me from coming to or campaigning in Hyderabad. My party is contesting and I am campaigning for them (party candidates),’’ he said.
Explained: TRS attack on Naidu bid to play Telangana pride card
By attacking TDP chief N Chandrababu Naidu, TRS is trying to fan the Telangana sentiment, which has worked in its favour in the past. TRS chief K Chandrashekar Rao and other leaders are trying to create an impression that a leader from Andhra Pradesh is trying to take control of Telangana again and reminding them of the pre-bifurcation days. KCR seems to have felt during public meetings that criticising local Congress leaders or national leaders of Congress and BJP does not cut much ice with the crowds, but mocking Naidu does. By targeting Naidu, KCR is also countering the Prajakutami.
TRS releases manifesto
Hyderabad: TRS released its manifesto Sunday in which it promised to raise retirement age of government employees from 58 to 61 years. CM K Chandrashekar Rao released the manifesto at a public meeting at Secunderabad. The manifesto also promises to raise recruitment age limit by three years. Apart from these, the manifesto has promises KCR mentioned when he kicked off his campaign. The manifesto says old-age pension eligibility would be reduced from 65 to 57 years and pensions to single and elderly women would be increased from Rs 1000 to Rs 2016 per month. The manifesto also promises an unemployment allowance of Rs 3,016. Other promises include financial assistance of up to Rs 5 lakh to poor people owning plots to build houses. —ENS