Rama Rao takes a dig at BJP, other opposition parties ahead of Telangana polls
Confident of sweeping Telangana polls under his father and interim chief minister K Chandrashekar Rao's leadership, TRS leader K T Rama Rao has said the BJP is "non-existent" in the state and the alliance formed by other opposition parties, 'Mahakutami', is a "coalition of rivals" that has already failed.
Acknowledging that Congress was the main rival for the ruling Telangana Rashtra Samity (TRS) in the assembly polls, Rao alleged the grand old party has become a "proxy" for Chandra Babu Naidu's Telegu Desam Party (TDP) in these polls.
In an interview to PTI, Rao also took on Congress chief Rahul Gandhi and rejected criticism that the TRS has also become a dynasty party and its government was being run as a family enterprise.
"We all have come through ranks. We have come through agitation. We participated in the agitation. If people are electing us as legislators, why should anybody have a problem?
"I fought eight long years in Telangana movement before becoming a legislator. I want to ask what agitation has Rahul Gandhi, who is our principal opponent here, been part of? Except for his surname Gandhi, how is he qualified to lead a party called Indian National Congress," Rao said.
The 42-year-old leader, popularly known as KTR, expressed confidence that the TRS will win 100 seats in the 119-member house in the assembly elections scheduled on December 7 and ruled himself out of the chief ministerial race while asserting his father KCR would be the chief minister for the next 10-15 years.
"I can tell you with lot of confidence that the TRS is going to sweep the polls here. We will score a century. I am not saying this as an empty rhetoric," he said while listing the party's win in past elections including for the Hyderabad Municipal Corporation and the Lok Sabha and assembly bypolls.
On Mahakutami, the grand alliance formed by the opposition parties, KTR said, "Most of them in Delhi don't comprehend the fact that the Mahakutami comprising the Congress, CPI and Kodandarama had contested in 2014. The only addition is TDP.
"Now, with the TDP coming into this combination, I actually call it a coalition of rivals. Their alliance has no basis and is not rooted in any kind of realism or any realistic goal for the development of Telangana."
KTR reiterated his accusation that it was rather a 'Maha Ghatiya Bandhan', saying the TDP and the Congress have been fighting for last 40 years and now they have come together with the single aim of dislodging the TRS.
He said any coalition rooted in a negative aim of dislodging somebody will never work.
Asked about his recent comments that he would retire from politics if the TRS failed to form the government, KTR clarified, "What I said was that I challenged my political rivals especially Congressmen who are claiming they will win elections."
"I am ready to quit politics if my party does not come back to power. I will sincerely standby, but will they take my challenge," he said.
Asked which party he considered as the main rival, KTR said, "It is actually Congress. Since Congress is contesting along with TDP and others, so it is Mahakutami."
On the BJP's allegations that the Congress and the TRS might join hands after elections, he said, "This is the strangest thing I have heard. The Congress is our principal opponent and BJP is non-existent here."
"The Congress says we are aligned with the BJP, and the BJP says we will align with the Congress. Both of them are conveniently forgetting that the country is not bipolar like the NDA versus the UPA situation. In fact, we believe that a federal alternative in this country has to emerge from like-minded regional parties like TRS and others," he said.
KTR said that his father would focus on this after assembly elections.
Asked whether the TRS would join hands with the BJP or AIMIM if it falls short of a majority, KTR said there was no question of a hung assembly and the TRS will win emphatically.
Asked if AIMIM will still be part of the government since TRS has friendly ties with it, he said, "In fact in 2014, we won emphatically. They supported us from outside. I think the same trend will continue. AIMIM has never been part of any government in the last 10 years. I don't see that will change."
On the chief minister focussing his attack on the TDP despite Naidu's party contesting only 14 seats and the Congress fighting 94 seats, KTR said, "TDP and Chandrababu Naidu want to control Telangana through a proxy called Congress because Congress leadership in Telangana is spineless, rudderless and useless."
"Chandrababu Naidu wants by hook or crook to control the resources in Telangana. He is the same guy who actually tried to destabilise our government... Chandrababu is the same guy who wrote 30 letters to stall our various irrigation projects," he alleged.
"Therefore, it is only natural to expose Chandrababu Naidu and his designs for Telangana," he said.
(With inputs from agencies.)
- Cong, TDP, CPI, TJS may join hands for LS poll in Telangana
- Doors of NDA permanently closed for TDP: Amit Shah
- Congress yet to decide on alliance with TDP for upcoming Lok Sabha polls
- Odisha: Hardcore Maoist arrested in TDP leaders' killing case
- Ahead of PM Modi's visit, TDP highlights 'revengeful attitude' towards Andhra Pradesh