Blaming the Centre’s policies for the country’s economy sliding into recession, Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) Working President K.T. Rama Rao challenged it to show 20 people who have benefited from its Rs 20 lakh crore stimulus package.
“For 15 days I have been meeting businessmen and others but did not find a single man who was benefited from Rs 20 lakh crore package. May be all 20 lakh benefited in Gujarat,” Rama Rao told a select group of journalists on the eve of elections to Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation (GHMC).
The state Industry and Information Technology Minister said after eight consecutive quarters of slowdown, the economy was pushed into lockdown and now into recession.
“Our GDP growth rate is less than that of Bangladesh and Sri Lanka. Who is responsible for this,” he asked.
KTR, as the minister is popularly known, also reminded the BJP of its promise to create 2 crore jobs every year. He said this was also a ‘jumla’ like Rs 15 lakh in every bank account and bringing back black money.
“Where are 12 crore jobs. Even the existing jobs are being eliminated not to talk about new jobs,” he said referring to the government’s move to privatise Air India and Life Insurance Corporation (LIC).
“Modi government launched many schemes like Fit India, Sit India, Stand India. Now its slogan is ‘becho’ (Sell) India,” he said questioning the move to privatise profit making public sector undertakings.
“Our slogan is ‘socho’ (Think) India,” the TRS leader said, urging people to think about issues like economy and jobs and not get carried away by the divisive agenda which the BJP is pushing in every election.
KTR said that the TRS did not want to speak on national issues in GHMC elections but the irresponsible statements of the BJP leaders have compelled the party to respond.
Asked about the criticism of the TRS by the BJP for its friendship with Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (MIM), he pointed out that TRS supported the BJP government on repeal of Article 370, GST, demonetszation, election of President and Vice President.
“MIM is also extending issue based support to us. We did not contest elections in alliance with them. In fact, the TRS fought and defeated MIM in five seats in the last elections. Where was BJP then? We are fighting MIM again this time and will win 10 seats,” he said.
Replying to another query, he said the TRS was not worried over the so-called emergence of the BJP following the latter’s win in by-election to Dubbak Assembly seat and exuded confidence that the TRS will retain GHMC with an absolute majority.
“There were 10-12 elections since Telangana formation but we practically won every election barring Dubbak. It’s not proper to look Dubbak result under magnifying glass and assume something more than it. Unfortunately, a TRS victory is not news but a TRS defeat is news,” he said.
KTR pointed out that the BJP is not emerging as a new entity. “Back in 1990s they had won six parliamentary seats in Andhra Pradesh. What happened subsequently in 20 plus years. BJP also won Mahabubnagar bypoll but later on they were nowhere. They won four Lok Sabha seats last year but lost the Zilla Parishad and municipal elections.”
On the BJP promising to change name of Hyderabad to Bhagyanagar, KTR remarked that Telangana and Hyderabad need “a game changer, not name changer”.
“If somebody’s name changed to Amitabh Bacchan, will he become Amitabh Bacchan. Madras became Chennai… what happened. Allahbad became Prayagraj and Faizabad became Ayodhya. What has changed. What is the point in changing a name. Will renaming Hyderabad as Bhagyanagar will bring Bhagyam (fortune) or bangaram (gold) in every house,” he asked.
“Don’t change name, change your deeds and your behvaiour. Try to do something,” he told the BJP leaders.
Referring to Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath campaigning in GHMC elections, he said the TRS government does not need to learn from Yogi or others.
“The Prime Minister said in Bihar, ‘jungle raj ke yuvaraj’. What is you raj. Is there any other state in the country with worst law and order situation than Uttar Pradesh,” he asked.
On Yogi and other BJP leaders criticising the TRS for family rule, KTR challenged them to show that they are above this. He pointed out how the families of BJP leaders like Rajnath Singh, B.S. Yediyurappa, Vasundhara Raje and Maneka Gandhi are all into active politics.
“Being son or a daughter of someone in politics will help only up to entry pass level. I have been elected four times from Sircilla constituency and every time with a higher margin. I am democratically elected. What is your problem,” asked KTR, who is son of Chief Minister K. Chandrasekhar Rao.