Khammam: In the first public meeting after Bharat Rashtra Samithi’s foray into national politics, in which Chief Ministers of non-BJP-ruled states gleaned in a show of strength in a direct challenge to Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s re-election bid next year, Chief Minister K. Chandrashekar Rao called for the ouster of Modi, stating that the BJP government at the Centre is past its expiry date and asserting repeatedly that the BRS would lead the alternative government.
The Chief Minister’s assertion that he would lead the Opposition coalition gained significance given that it was made in the presence of Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, whose Aam Aadmi Party sees him as a leader who can challenge the BJP in the future.
The AAP is making all the strategic moves to position itself as a viable alternative to the Congress.
Chief Minister K. Chandrashekar Rao promised to implement the Dalit Bandhu scheme in the entire country by covering 25 lakh Dalit families each year. Rao also promised to make India, a power cut-free country within two years and Rythu Bandhu, financial assistance to the farmers. He also pledged to end the controversial Agnipath army recruitment drive and reinstate the old selection process.
The massive rally held on Wednesday in Khammam, considered as the political nerve centre of Telangana, brought together leaders of national and regional parties, including Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, Punjab Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann, Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan, Samajwadi Party chief Akhilesh Yadav, CPI national secretary D. Raja, Chandrashekar Rao, among others to rail against the BJP. H.D. Kumara Swamy, former Karnataka chief minister, who had previously been airdropped from Bengaluru on many occasions including the grand announcement of the BRS, was conspicuously absent. The BRS did not formally announce his absence.
Lashing out at the Prime Minister for his statement that the government “has no business to do business”, Chandrashekar Rao said, “The government has every business to do business wherever it is required to fulfill the needs of the poor and needy through cross subsidisation etc.”
Rao came down heavily on Modi for the BJP government’s move to privatise LIC, Vizag Steel Plant and power sector and declared that BRS government will take them back from private players and restore their PSU status once elected to power. Taking a dig at the Modi government’s privatisation policies, he said, “Your policy is to socialise losses and privatise profits. Your policy is privatisation and our policy is nationalisation. You privatise whatever you want. We will take them back and nationalise them, once we are voted to power.”
The Chief Minister promised to provide 35 per cent reservations for women in legislative bodies. “The BRS public meeting is the biggest in the history of Khammam. It is an indication of a big change in the country,” he emphatically stated. Rao stated that he will release the party’s national agenda soon as it is currently being drafted by nearly 150 intellectuals and experts in various fields, including retired judges of the Supreme Court and High Courts. Referring to job creation, Rao promised to lay special focus on IT and industries development to create more jobs. “Religious hatred is growing under the BJP regime. We should promote religious tolerance. All like-minded parties should unite. BRS will work for India development. The final victory is ours,” Rao remarked.
The Chief Minister announced Rs 10 lakh special fund each to all 589 gram panchayats in Khammam district, Rs 10 crore special fund each to Pedda Tanda, Kalluru, Edulapuram, Tallada, Nelakondaplly major gram panchayats which are above 10, 000 population, Rs 50 crore special fund to Khammam municipal corporation, Rs 30 crore fund each to Sattupally, Madhira, Wyra municipalities, and a new bridge on Koneru river. He announced a new government engineering college in Khammam under JNTU with new courses. “It is unfortunate that we are eating pizza and burgers of foreign companies despite being an agri driven economy. We can develop wonderful food chains in the world with available resources, build a robust food processing industry and create jobs. Unfortunately, we are importing pulses and palm oil from other countries due to inefficient governments of the Congress and BJP which ruled the country for seven decades,” he noted.