Hyderabad: With his goal of essaying a national role in 2024, Telangana Chief Minister K. Chandrasekhar Rao (KCR) Sunday held a public meeting in Maharashtra’s Nanded where he sought to strike a chord with the agrarian community there.
Nanded meeting was the first such meeting of the Bharat Rashtra Samithi (BRS) outside Telangana ever since it was launched in December last year.The party had held a mega rally last month but it was in Telangana’s Khammam.
KCR pitched for an ‘Ab Ki Baar Kisaan Sarkar’ (farmer’s rule), pointing out at the high farmer suicide rate in Maharashtra.
“It is so painful to see the situation here. What is the reason for such large number of farmer suicides in Maharashtra? A state which has rivers such as Godavari, Krishna, Pravara, Purna, Manjeera, Bhima and many more flowing through it and yet Maharashtra has water crisis?” KCR said, adding that around 50,000 TMC of unused water is flowing away into the ocean every year.
“What are the leaders (in Maharashtra) doing when so many farmers are dying? I don’t understand. Maharashtra has rivers flowing through it, but state farmers have no water. It has coal but has a power crisis… The country has 42 per cent of farmer population and including agriculture labour it goes to 50 percent, which is enough to form a new government.”
Telangana’s power and farm crisis has been resolved by his government, he claimed, adding that his policies have helped cut down farm suicides in his state.
Further, KCR said that only a ‘Kisan sarkar’ will help drought prone areas such as Latur, Beed and Parbhani districts see some development. Throughout his public meeting and at a media interaction later, KCR lashed out at the BJP and the Congress for their ‘failure’ in policies and governance.
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Over 50 leaders from Aheri, Mulchera, Etapalli taluks, Sarpanch level, Zilla parishad levrl, joined BRS on Sunday in Nanded. Although the party does not have a solid strategy on how to penetrate into a state other than their home ground, their first step is to target border districts, say BRS leaders.
“The reason why Nanded has been chosen for the meeting is because it shares a border with Telangana and they have a better idea of what’s going on in our state. We’re planning more such public meetings in border districts of 2 more states, one of them is Odisha. We’re looking at the kind of response we get in these initial meetings and will then proceed,” MLC Bhanu Prasad told ThePrint.
The main focus of the party is Parliament seats in these states, he added.
Earlier, there were reports that KCR wanted to spread its wings to Punjab, Haryana, Maharashtra, Karnataka, Odisha and Andhra Pradesh through farmers’ wing of BRS. Telangana has 17 MPs in both the Houses of Parliament.
Senior political analyst Nageshwar Rao opined KCR’s attempt to enter Maharashtra is him launching his political ‘start-up’ in the already crowded state ruled by a coalition of the BJP and its ally, Eknath Shinde-led Balasahebanchi Shiv Sena.
“Maharashtra already has enough players. And apart from BJP, there is Shiv Sena, NCP, an MVA coalition.. So, there are enough options to choose from and it is already very crowded. Besides, it is too early to predict anything with just one meeting in a border district on what it would mean. Unlike at the Centre, in most states there is hardly any space for a third alternative besides key strong regional players. So, unless KCR has some strong local leaders, who are influential and can work-out caste equations, support him, it would be very tough to do anything,” Rao told ThePrint, adding that KCR is launching his start-up with an aim to make it a ‘unicorn’
“He is trying to pitch the farmers’ government but it is hard to gain their trust given that KCR or his party in the past did not participate in the nation-wide farmers’ protest. Also, his stand on farm laws kept changing. Among farmers too, there are strong caste equations that come into play. So, there are several factors that matter if he wants to make any inroads in any state beyond his turf,” Rao said.
In 2021, KCR, however, announced Rs 3 lakh ex gratia to all the 750 farmers who lost lives during the massive agitation in Delhi.
The Telanaga CM’s ambitions of playing a key role in national politics first came into notice in 2018. At first, he tried stitching an alternate front against the BJP and the Congress but nothing materialised over the years, despite multiple meetings with opposition leaders and CMs from other states.
Last year, he renamed Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) as BRS with an aim to establish it as a national party and as an alternative to BJP amidst growing rivalry between the two parties in his state. The rivalry has only intensified as the southern state goes to the poll this year.
(Edited by Tony Rai)
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