IMAGE: TRS president and caretaker chief minister K Chandrashekar Rao addresses a public meeting, in Sangareddy.. Photograph: PTI Photo
With little over a week left for Telangana state polls, K Chandrashekar Rao's party Telangana Rashtra Samiti has a new formula to check Chandrababu Naidu -- invoking the Telangana pride.
Minister T Harish Rao, widely known as a key troubleshooter of the ruling party, said Naidu is a ‘betrayer’ of Telangana people and there was a need to stop him from ‘indirectly controlling the state’.
“Had Naidu not entered Telangana, we would not have talked about Telangana pride. The issue would not have arisen if the Congress had gone solo.
“Since Naidu is part of the 'Maha Kutami' (a grand alliance of opposition parties), definitely Telangana pride will come into play,” Rao told PTI on his campaign trail.
From door-to-door visits to addressing rallies, Rao is leaving no stone unturned to ensure that his uncle KCR, as the state’s first chief minister is known as, returns to power for the second time.
Rao exuded confidence that his party will win 90-plus seats in the 119-member assembly and will not take support from other parties.
He also asserted that Asaduddin Owaisi's All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen will not be a part of the government despite having friendly ties.
The Telangana pride is all about self-respect, Rao said adding that the Telugu Desam Party joining hands with the Congress is a ‘blessing in disguise’ for his party.
TRS is contesting in 107 assembly seats of the total 119, while TDP is a part of the Congress-led 'Maha Kutami' or grand alliance of four parties which also include the Communist Party of India and the Telangana Jana Samithi.
Voting will take place on December 7 while counting of votes is scheduled for December 11.
Claiming that 'Maha Kutami' is an ‘utter flop’, the TRS leader said his party is maintaining equal distance from both the Congress and the Bharatiya Janata Party.
Rao, who is contesting for the sixth time from Siddipet, has never lost an election since 2004.
He said he is not even campaigning in his area and is focussing all his efforts in Gajwel, the seat KCR is fighting from.
On allegations about TRS indulging in dynasty politics, Rao said it was the case with the Congress as well, with Indira Gandhi, Rajiv Gandhi and now Rahul Gandhi all being from the same family.
“We have not come indirectly into politics, we are winning in elections,” he said adding that the Congress has no locus standi to talk about dynastic politics.
However in Congress, there is no leader and direction, he said.
“Congress cannot rule our state. In the past, chief minister was changed thrice in five years. They are mere power-mongers. On the other side, we don't even take BJP into consideration.”
He rubbished reports of any power tussle within his family.
“It is nonsense. As opposition has no public issue to raise, they talk about family tussle and family dynasty. In elections, you should talk about development and expose corruptions if any,” Rao said.
On welfare schemes denting the state exchequer, he said that the state has borrowed funds for development purpose.
“It is not wrong if you are spending for welfare of the state and even the US and other developed nations are doing.”
Asked about Telangana people’s discontent with the TRS for giving construction contracts to the Andhra settlers, especially the Reddy community, Rao said: "These contractors are working all over India. The contracts are not given directly to individuals but through a bidding process. Whoever quotes less, get the contract."
Companies owned by Andhra settlers like GVK group are implementing projects not only in Telangana but across the country and even abroad, he said.