Hyderabad: It is not clearly known if Telangana Chief Minister KCR had really sought an appointment with Prime Minister Narendra Modi during his stay in New Delhi. What is seen as significant is that KCR returned home without calling on anybody despite taking a stubborn stand on what he called the Centre's discrimination against Telangana in the matter of paddy procurement.

At the time of the 'Maha Dharna' on 18 November, the CM said he would wait for a couple of days for the Centre's clarity on the issue of procurement of Yasangi paddy. His main demand was that the Centre should treat Telangana on a par with Punjab and Haryana and procure the entire paddy crop from Telangana.

Still, the CM hadn't held any high-level meeting in Delhi as expected to persuade the Union government on his demand. On the other side, Mr. Modi's virulent critic West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee had a one-on-one meeting with the PM. Why didn't the much-discussed meeting take place between KCR and PM Modi? Was the Center unhappy and expressed it by denying an audience with the PM?

In another development, Union PDS minister Piyush Goyal was unequivocal in conveying his intention to the state delegation of ministers led by IT minister KT Rama Rao that the Centre cannot buy the parboiled rice from the state.

What would happen now? Would KCR chase the Centre till it purchases the entire crop as declared earlier? This looks most unlikely. Any conflict with the Centre would help tempers run high in the state and encourage BJP to exploit it. Would he quietly lie low for some time?

According to BJP sources, the Centre was terribly upset by KCR. What embarrassed it more was not the language he used or the threats he hurled but the sudden announcement of ex-gratia to the Punjab farmers. It was the bone of contention. In the BJP's view, the ex-gratia to the tune of Rs. 3 lakh to the families of the farmers who died at the Singhu border is bound to show the saffron party there in a bad light. Punjab is going for polls next year.

KCR's statement on ex-gratia to 750 families is being seen as an attempt to harm BJP interests in the north at a time when the saffron party is trying hard to regain lost ground in Punjab and retain the government in UP.

BJP sources said the PM was not enthusiastic to meet the Telangana Chief Minister following his tirade against the Centre in general and PM Modi in particular. State BJP leaders claimed that they had submitted a report to the party high command on how the TRS has been targeting PM Modi whenever the state government finds itself in trouble.

"KCR is trying to destabilize the Centre by announcing ex-gratia to Punjab farmers. It's a way of inciting the farmers against the Centre. We urge the Central government and the party leadership to be cautious about KCR's politics," said former BJP national executive member Perala Sekhar Rao.

Mr. Rao ridiculed the offer of ex-gratia to Punjab and Haryana farmers as a joke. In his view, KCR has no business to offer the ex-gratia to the farmers of other states which are ruled by elected governments. "Is he not creating problems for these governments as well by his pseudo generosity?" Mr. Rao asked and added that it's going to be a major scam.

"Let the KCR government first publish the names and addresses of 750 farmers who reportedly died in the farmers' agitation. This is a matter to be watched closely," Mr. Rao who is also the south zone chairman of KVIC added.

Stating that Telangana farmers are dying on the mounds of grain in the fields and unemployed students are taking their lives as they see no future in Telangana, Mr. Rao said KCR should first help these hapless families before going to Punjab to distribute cheques. "The paddy procurement mess is the creation of the state government. The Centre knows it very well," he said.

Jinka Nagaraju

Jinka Nagaraju is a Hyderabad based journalist. He covered the entire spectrum of political activities of Telugu states from Hyderabad and New Delhi for about 3 decades. He represented Vaartha in New Delhi during the most happening decade of 1996-2006. He was the political correspondent of Times of India from Hyderabad for 10 years. He was editor of Asianet's Telugu digital platform.

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