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TRS govt pitches for a faceoff with Centre

For the first time in 7 years, Telangana leaders organising protests against BJP-led govt

Telangana Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao

Telangana Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao

Telangana Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao is gearing up for a direct fight with the Narendra Modi-led government at the Centre over the 'raw deal' being meted out in the State, especially in paddy procurement.

After two rounds of sit-in, including the one led by the Chief Minister himself in Hyderabad last month, demanding the Centre to lift entire paddy produced in the state, the Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) chief has asked his party cadres to widen the scope of the fight by staging protests in every village against 'anti-farmer' policies of the BJP-led NDA government.

Unlike the first phase of protest, which was confined to 'dharnas' in all the 119 Assembly constituencies, and the subsequent mega dharna led by KCR, as the Chief Minister is popularly known, in Hyderabad, the third phase will include demonstrations and burning of effigies. At a meeting with ministers, TRS state legislators, MPs and other leaders on December 17, KCR had declared an open war with the Centre.

"The party cadres have been told to burn effigies of BJP-led Centre and Union ministers who are speaking lies and spreading misinformation over the issue of paddy procurement," a senior party leader had said after the meeting. This will be the first time in seven years that TRS will be organising protests of this nature against the BJP-led Central government.

KCR, who last week completed three years as Chief Minister in his second term, minced no words in slamming the Centre for doing injustice to Telangana. He asked the party leaders to go to the people in their respective constituencies and explain to them the anti-farmer policies of the Centre. He told the party cadres that the time has come for a decisive fight with the Centre, which is harming the interests of Telangana farmers by running away from its constitutional duty to lift paddy from the state.

The TRS decision to intensify the protest comes close on the heels of the face-off during the ongoing Winter Session of the Parliament. After taking on the Centre on the floor of the House for not lifting paddy from the state, the TRS announced boycott of the rest of the session over paddy procurement, other issues related to Telangana and suspension of 12 members of Rajya Sabha belonging to other opposition parties.

The 16 MPs of TRS, including seven from Rajya Sabha, wanted the Centre to announce a national food grain procurement policy and also take a decision on paddy procurement from the state during the Rabi season. Angered by the Centre's attitude towards their demands, the TRS MPs said the country will get justice only when Prime Minister Narendra Modi leaves his seat.

He claimed that the State has almost reached the procurement target of 60 lakh tonnes set by the Food Corporation of India (FCI) for the current season. To mount pressure on the Centre to procure more paddy, a delegation of state ministers and MPs left for Delhi on Saturday.

The TRS is thus adopting a two-pronged strategy. While pressurising the Centre to lift the paddy from the State, the party is taking the issue to the grassroots level to explain to the people, especially farmers, that the problems are created by the anti-farmer policies of the Centre. Political observers say that by hitting the streets, the TRS is also trying to effectively counter the BJP, whose state leadership has stepped up attack on the ruling party in the State for failing the farmers.

Mohammed Shafeeq
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