Interview: Telangana goes to polls in 2023

In an interaction with a group of journalists, KTR poured his heart out about the political situation and chances of coming back to power. Excerpts:

By Coreena Suares  Published on  25 April 2022 7:42 AM GMT
Interview: Telangana goes to polls in 2023

Hyderabad: Ahead of Telangana Rashtra Samiti's (TRS) plenary, party working president and MA&UD minister K.T. Rama Rao ruled out an early assembly election saying the government will complete its full term.

In an informal interaction with a group of journalists, KTR poured his heart out about the political situation and chances of coming back to power. Excerpts:

Q: Is BJP's rise behind the decision of roping in I-PAC? Have you approached Congress for any understanding?

KTR: BJP's rise is due to the rabble-rousing, especially with digital media around. There is no rise in BJP but a rise in inflation. It is the highest in 40 years. Unemployment is at 45 year high. In 2014, they claimed farmers' income will be doubled. However, today the input cost has doubled. BJP has a failed model. They go to people saying it is because of Congress. Congress's inability to bring out these issues to center stage is making BJP infallible. Wherever there is a strong leader like Mamata and Stalin, BJP has been a checkmated. Wherever Congress is contesting, BJP looks like a hulk.

Congress is a tested commodity for BJP. I don't see Congress doing anything. I don't see Congress anywhere. Rahul Gandhi couldn't win his seat, how can he win the country.

Q:, Arvind Kejriwal is at the center stage now. You talk about national politics only when elections are round the corner. When are you going to talk about national politics?

KTR: For the media, Kejriwal looks like a big leader because he is coming from a Hindi heartland. He is the chief minister of Delhi, he doesn't have an irrigation problem, and he doesn't have the revenue issues to tackle. AAP's capability will be tested in Punjab. The media is fixated on what is happening in Gurgaon and Noida or Delhi. The point is good work is happening in other parts as well. If that is reported fairly, leaders like KCR will stand out. There will be time.

It is an era of regional parties. BJP is a big regional party, Congress is a bit small, and we are smaller than that. Except for Karnataka, where is BJP in south India? In Telangana, they won 4 Lok Sabha seats. They are not consistent in their performance anywhere in south India. BJP, which claims to be a national party, is just a regional party. You are asking when we will go national, I ask you when will the BJP come to Tamil Nadu, Kerala, and Telangana.

Q: Will anti-incumbency, and Khammam, Ramyanpet incidents dent your prospects?

KTR: Anti-incumbency is very natural. BJP has four MPs in Telangana. They will also face anti-incumbency. They will be asked what work they have done in their constituencies. What special projects have they got? For instance, in Nizamabad, they promised the turmeric board will be constituted in five days. But it's five years and still, we can't see that happening. What has Bandi Sanjay, the president of BJP Telangana got for the state? Only the state government schemes and projects are implemented in Karimnagar. Anti-incumbency is not exclusive to one party. Every party has to face it.

The issues that happened in Khammam and Ramayanpet are unfortunate. The question is how the party responds to these issues. In Lakhimpur Kheri, Ashish Mishra mowed down farmers. Has the prime minister tweeted condolence? Has any of the party leaders said anything about it? We have not shielded anyone. He has been arrested. Let the inquiry conclude. If it comes that he has committed a crime, he will be sacked from the party,

Q: Telangana Governor has said the government is neither cooperating nor providing helicopters for events?

KTR: There is no question. If the governor thinks that she is above the elected government then it's wrong, Governor has her prerogative to say anything. But the government is doing what's right for the people. I travel by road. What is wrong with that? Even the prime minister travels by road.

Q: A lot of party MLAs and MPs are facing the wrath of voters. Are you going with the same lot of people or giving chance to new faces?

KTR: I cannot make this assertion. We shall have to see the manifestation of voters. We will see how leaders will be in sync with citizens at large. We have enough time to analyze. There will be minor changes. We will take all pros and cons into consideration.

Q: In July presidential poll, what will the TRS stand?

KTR: Politics is all about `tomorrow will be better than today'. We will talk about it in July, not in April.

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