The Telangana Rashtra Samithi would seek to befriend Prime Minister-elect Narendra Modi and Bharatiya Janata Party-led National Democratic Alliance government to forge a good and healthy relationship, and would not be confrontationist with the successor state of Andhra Pradesh but would fight tooth and nail for the rights of Telangana, a key party figure said on Monday.
K T Rama Rao, Sircilla member of Legislative Assembly and son of TRS supremo K Chandrasekhar Rao who is all set to become Telangana's first chief minister, said his party government would do everything in its capacity to ensure a good and healthy relationship with the Centre and expressed the hope that the latter would be supportive of the newly carved State of Telangana.
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He said Modi rang up Chandrasekhar Rao on Sunday, congratulated him on the TRS victory in Telangana and invited him to attend his swearing in ceremony.
"We are thinking about it (whether to attend the ceremony." "So, definitely, we would like to befriend the new prime minister and his team and we would like to work together in the next five years, irrespective of what ideological and political differences we have. Its time for all of us to get our act together because ultimately people have voted for him and us. And therefore time for us to work", KTR, as he is popularly known, told PTI in an interview.
The TRS, which fought the elections on its own without succumbing to the temptation of having an electoral alliance with the Congress, is flying high after storming to power with a haul of 63 seats in the 119-member Telangana assembly and bagging 11 out of the 17 Lok Sabha seats in what's going to be the country's 29th state on June two.
Asked if TRS would extend issue-based support to the Central government, he said, "I didn't say that. All I am saying is... We will be supportive of the central government and we are hopeful that the central government will be supportive of the newly created State. I am not talking political support, I am not talking moral support. All I am saying is like how you should work...how central government should work with state government what healthy relationship should exist between a State and the Centre."
"All I am saying we will have mutual healthy respect because we have both been elected by the people of the country and state, respectively. Therefore, we need to work together. We have no choice but to work together because that’s people’s mandate," KTR said.
He said the TRS government would not only seek a package for Telangana from the Central government but also special category status for the State similar to the one accorded to Seemandhra, besides national status for Pranahita-Chevella and Palamuru irrigation projects.
KTR found it ironical that the erstwhile United Progressive Alliance regime had actually conferred special state status to Seemandhra while the region that fought for statehood was neglected.
"Telangana should have been given special state status as well. So, therefore, definitely we will appeal to the NDA to give us special state status."
He was categorical that the TRS government would not adopt a confrontationist attitude towards the residuary Andhra Pradesh (Seemandhra) and said political differences with the Telugu Desam Party led by N Chandrababu Naidu would now be set aside as people have elected his party to power in Seemandhra and the TRS in Telangana.
"Absolutely not (there will not be any confrontation or friction with the TDP government). We will start working (together) from day one. In fact, we are looking at a situation where most certainly all of us will set aside our political differences. The way the people have given us mandate in Telangana, they have given them (TDP) mandate there (Seemandhra). It is all the more reason that we set aside our differences."
"We will not be confrontational but at the same time we will not forgo an opportunity to basically protect our rights. When it comes to protecting Telangana’s rights and setting ourselves...we will not shy away from that. We will definitely fight tooth and nail when it comes to protecting Telangana citizen’s rights," KTR asserted.
He said the first file that the chief minister-designate Chandrasekhar Rao would sign at the maiden Cabinet meeting would be to withdraw all cases against agitators of the pro-Telangana statehood movement.
KTR said these cases number in thousands. Listing priorities of the new government, he said 1,100 families who lost their members in the pro-statehood agitation would be given Rs 10 lakh support and employment for one of their members.
KTR said the TRS government would seek to correct "injustices" done in the united Andhra Pradesh primarily in the areas of irrigation, education and employment. "We have ambitious plans for the next five years," he said.
There would be a combination of welfare and development-driven initiatives. The under-privileged, destitute, senior citizens and physically challenged would get monthly pensions. Focus would be on Below Poverty Line families neglected in the past, he said.