INDIA. Mumbai: In an attempt to spread his wings outside Telangana, the Bharat Rashtra Samithi (BRS) president and Telangana Chief Minister K Chandrashekar Rao addressed a public meeting in Nanded, Maharashtra, on Sunday and attempted to woo leaders into his party fold.
When Rao arrived at the venue, he began garlanding the statues of Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj, Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar, and Mahatma Jyotiba Phule. He was greeted with applause and cheers from the crowd.
Former Maharashtra MLAs Deepak Atram (Gadchiroli) and Raju Todsam (Arni, Yavatmal), the Sambhaji Brigade (farmers’ front), State President Satosh Gawhane, and others joined the BRS on the occasion. Rao welcomed them into his party by putting the pink scarves of the BRS around their necks.
Rao, in his speech, lambasted Prime Minister Narendra Modi and said that the centre was neglecting the farmers’ woes, as evident from the recent farmers’ stir organised at the Tikri border (Delhi). Despite long-drawn agitation against controversial farm laws, Modi did not utter a single word. This showed an apathetic attitude towards the farmers.
“The leaders come and give lengthy speeches. But the people do not get water or electricity in villages, Rao said, and he urged farmers to unite to capture power in the ensuing Lok Sabha elections in 2024. This time it will be the farmers’ government (Ab Ki Bar Kisan Ki Sarkar),” he added.
The suicides by debt-ridden farmers in Maharashtra are unfortunate, and something has to be done to put a stop to such painful incidents. These things could be avoided only when the farmers unite and fight for their rights, Rao said.
A sizable number of Telugu-speaking people from Nanded attended the meeting. The attempt was made to attract people by decorating the city with colourful balloons, arches, and large hoardings.
The Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) was founded on April 27, 2001, by Rao with a single-point agenda of creating a separate Telangana state with Hyderabad as its capital. The TRS recently changed its name to “Bharat Rashtra Samithi” and announced itself as a national party.
This was the first public meeting of the BRS outside Telangana. The BRS has allied with HD Kumaraswamy’s Janata Dal-Secular in Karnataka and is planning to contest the forthcoming elections in the state.
However, Telangana Bharatiya Janata Party president Bandi Sanjay Kumar, in a statement, described Rao’s public meeting as a damp squib. The so-called national meeting was a megaflop.
Even though 30 MLAs, two ministers, and two MPs had been camped in Nanded for the last 25 days, he claimed that they had to mobilise people from Telangana by paying them Rs 500 each for the meeting and that the majority of those who joined the BRS was outdated leaders who could not poll even 10 votes in their respective villages.
“Compared to Telangana, Maharashtra’s population is three times larger. Telangana stands fourth in terms of farmers’ suicides in the country. The state government has done away with all subsidies in the name of implementing the ‘Rythu Bandhu’ scheme, and it has not been implementing the central government’s ‘Fasal Bima Yojana’ (crop insurance scheme for farmers),” he said.
The BJP leader criticised Rao for bringing up Shivaji’s name and said that while Shivaji set up a true Hindu Rajya, Rao had mortgaged the state to Nizam’s successors and Razakars. He criticises Telangana for being number one in liquor sales and having high diesel and petrol prices.
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