Speculation is rife that the land deal came after the Telangana Rashtra Samithi agreed to vote with the Bharatiya Janata Party in the presidential elections scheduled for July, but the TRS has rubbished these reports.
Telangana Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao must be a happy man.
Union Defence Minister Arun Jaitley has cleared the proposal to hand over 60 acres of defence land on Parade Ground in Secunderabad to the Telangana government for building its new secretariat.
The decision came at a high-level meeting held in Jaitley’s chambers where the defence secretary, chief of army staff and officials of the defence estates division of the defence ministry were present.
If all goes as planned, the 60 acres of land, belonging to the defence forces, will be handed over to the state government in six months time, following which the the process of construction of the new secretariat building will begin.
Defence Secretary Sanjay Mitra will soon depute senior officials from the defence estate and a senior joint secretary to discuss the issue with the chief secretary of Telangana in Hyderabad to ensure that the process is expedited.
In lieu of the 60 acres, the government of Telangana has agreed to hand over the same area near Hyderabad to the ministry of defence, where they can have a shooting range and space for other defence-related activities.
Quid pro quo?
Speculation is rife that the land deal came after KCR’s Telangana Rashtra Samithi agreed to vote with the Bharatiya Janata Party in the presidential elections scheduled for July.
However, sources within the BJP have denied these rumours, saying the request was made when Manohar Parrikar was the defence minister.
Rumours state that the final decision over the land transfer was made when KCR sought a personal meeting with Prime Minister Narendra Modi last week, where it was agreed that the TRS would vote in favour of the BJP's candidate in the presidential polls.
In fact, half way through his meeting with KCR, PM Modi spoke to Defence Minister Arun Jaitley and ensured that the land allotment takes place.
In addition, Governor ESL Narasimhan also had a one-on-one meeting with the PM over the transfer of the land for the construction of the secretariat.
R Rajagopalan is a senior journalist based in New Delhi.