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regular-article-logo Monday, 15 April 2024

Telangana: No expectations from K. Chandrashekhar Rao government, say voters

It’s assessment time, says Priyanka Gandhi Vadra as she urges voters to hold government accountable

Sanjay K. Jha New Delhi Published 28.11.23, 04:22 AM
Priyanka Gandhi Vadra during a public meeting in Kodangal on Monday ahead of the Telangana Assembly elections.

Priyanka Gandhi Vadra during a public meeting in Kodangal on Monday ahead of the Telangana Assembly elections. PTI picture

People declaring they have no expectations from the government is not merely one of those little ironies of politics in India that we encounter every now and then. It’s a political tragedy; a form of cynicism that democracies can do without.

This happened on Monday at Bhongir in Telangana when multiple voices arose in a chorus, saying they have no expectations from the K. Chandrashekhar Rao government when Congress general secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra was explaining that election time was an opportunity for assessment and fixing accountability.

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“No expectations?” she exclaimed in astonishment.

The Congress leader, who has been ceaselessly entreating the voters to judge politicians on the basis of their performance and punish them for betrayal, said: “Your government has shown in the last 10 years that they have nothing to do with your concerns and struggles. But you must have expectations from the government. Governments are supposed to solve your problems and make your life better.”

She added: “The youth must expect the government to create job opportunities. Women must demand a secure environment. Farmers and small enterprises must expect policies that help them. But two kinds of politics are happening: One, for self-aggrandizement, for making palaces and businesses for families and friends; and the other for people’s welfare.”

Participants at Priyanka’s public meeting in Kodangal on Monday.

Participants at Priyanka’s public meeting in Kodangal on Monday. PTI picture

Amidst cheering from the crowds, she said: “Both Narendra Modi and KCR come from the same political culture. Notebandi, GST and Covid broke the back of small and medium enterprises. High prices pushed the essential commodities beyond the reach of the common man. Women were tortured. But leaders ran governance sitting in their palaces. All the policies are made to help the rich and the powerful. And at election time, they come with poll management and win.”

Blasting the chief minister of Telangana for the disconnect with the people, she said: “If the BRS (KCR’s party) returns to power, corruption will increase. If the Congress comes to power, the government will be run from Praja-Palna Bhavan and policies will be designed to help the farmers, women, youth and the poor.”

The palatial farmhouse that KCR stays in, named Pragati Bhavan, has become the symbol of the government’s corruption and hedonism, and Rahul Gandhi had announced that the farmhouse will be renamed “Praja-Palna Bhavan".

How that “palace” has become the byword for decadence is manifested in the political critique of the chief minister revolving around his lavish lifestyle. While Prime Minister Narendra Modi describes him as “Farmhouse CM”, all the Congress leaders use the “palace” metaphor to decry his corrupt politics. Rahul has described him as the most corrupt chief minister of India.

Addressing a public meeting at Medak on Monday, Congress president Mallikarjun Kharge said: “KCR and his family looted Telangana. Telangana was a surplus state and now it has a debt of Rs 5.60 lakh crore. KCR, confined to his farmhouse, is cut off from the people. He only meets land mafia, sand mafia, liquor mafia and mining mafia. And he abuses Rahul Gandhi who walked 4,000km to meet millions of people from Kanyakumari to Kashmir.”

The Congress has mounted a lethal, multi-pronged attack on KCR, knowing well that a strong push can demolish his citadel this time. At all her three meetings on Monday, Priyanka stressed that a government which builds the fortunes of the leaders instead of working in people’s interest must be kicked out. She said: “Ye hisab karne ka samay hai (This is the time for assessment and punishment). Don’t let them escape with the help of election management. Show them that the people are not for sale.”

Congress communications chief Jairam Ramesh said at a news conference: “KCR said local youth will get jobs if Telangana is created. The state has maximum unemployment under his rule. KCR said the new state will usher in people’s rule. The state is ruled by a gang of four — father, son, daughter and nephew. KCR doesn’t meet people, doesn’t even meet his ministers. There is no democracy here; it is family autocracy. He betrayed Telangana and is now trying to divert people’s attention. There are two politicians with MD degrees in India — Modi and KCR. MD means Master of Distraction.”

While Kanhaiya Kumar is already interacting with the youth in the state, the Congress on Monday fielded Sachin Pilot to answer their questions. Paper leak was their main concern and Pilot explained how he raised the issue in Rajasthan and forced the government to make a law, with the maximum punishment of life imprisonment. Paper leak reminds us of those little ironies of politics — while the Enforcement Directorate was active in Rajasthan, KCR had to deal with Modi’s hollow threats, no real action.

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