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‘Hitler’ KCR talks tough

Hyderabad, Aug. 17: The Second World War is long over but the “Fuhrer” might yet return, though not in the land through which the Rhine flows.

Telangana chief minister K. Chandrasekhar Rao today said he would be a “Hitler” to encroachers and “thieves”, the warning coming in response to a BJP leader who had compared him to the Nazi dictator.

“One says KCR is Hitler… KCR is definitely Hitler for thieves…. KCR is Hitler to stop injustice,” Rao said while defending his government’s controversial decision to hold an intensive household survey on August 19 to ensure that benefits of welfare schemes reached the targeted sections.

Rao insists on 1956 as the cut-off year for state assistance to college students under a tuition fee reimbursement scheme started long before Andhra Pradesh was split into Andhra and Telangana this year.

KCR, as Rao is popularly known, says his state would bear the cost if at least one parent of the students concerned has been a resident of Telangana since 1956. Most students now studying in Hyderabad colleges have their roots in post-bifurcation Andhra.

Last year, undivided Andhra had spent Rs 4,500 crore on this scheme started by the late Y.S.R. Reddy. Rao has made it clear he wouldn’t foot the bill for Andhra students.

The Telangana government has also disqualified 174 of the 315 engineering colleges in and around Hyderabad — the joint capital of the two states till Andhra decides on its own — from starting counselling sessions. Sources said a large number of these colleges were funded by wealthy Andhra residents.

Rao, the sources said, is clear on what he wants. Reporters who met him after his meeting with his Andhra counterpart N. Chandrababu Naidu this afternoon also came away with that impression.

Rao said he wouldn’t compromise on public welfare but was ready to resolve through dialogue issues that directly affected people’s interest. The chief minister, who had not responded to appeals from Naidu for talks, relented following governor E.S.L. Narasimhan’s advice at an I-Day get-together.

The two chief ministers met the governor separately and later met along with their chief secretaries, police chiefs and the Speakers of both states. According to sources, the discussions focused on the tuition fee scheme, power-purchase agreements and division of employees, among other issues.

A Raj Bhavan source said both Rao and Naidu underscored the need to resolve differences through talks. “If officials fail to break ice on any particular issue, we are ready to meet again,” Naidu said after the meeting.

Earlier in the day, Naidu had released a white paper on the “loss” Andhra had incurred as a result of the bifurcation. Naidu said the then UPA government at the Centre had divided the state without consulting the stakeholders. “We don’t have a state capital, no secretariat or high court or a state Assembly,” he added.