Hyderabad: The commoner began to notice a marked change in Telangana Chief Minister K. Chandrasekhar Rao after the elections to Dubbaka and Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation (GHMC). The change becomes more perceptible and conspicuous especially after Chandrasekhar Rao who is popularly known as KCR has met with Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Union Home Minister Amit Shah in Delhi a week after the GHMC election results.
The KCR’s Telangana Rashtra Samithi suffered a major dent in the GHMC elections and lost its sitting Dubbaka Assembly seat to the BJP. Thus, the election results indicated a saffron surge in the KCR’s home turf.
In the run up to the elections, the TRS patriarch went into combative mode to become messiah of Muslim minorities and farmers. His party MPs voted against the controversial Citizenship (Amendment) Bill and the farm bills. Rao even expressed his resolve to host an anti-BJP opposition conclave in Hyderabad after the elections.
The poll setback left the KCR’s camp gloomy and its leader remained reticent in his farm house for a full fortnight since he met with Amit Shah on December 12.
The Chief Minister presented himself on Sunday at Pragathi Bhavan, his official residence in the state capital, only to make a U-turn from his avowed fight against the BJP and its dispensation in Delhi.
Toeing the NDA line?
And, the public perception over his U-turn has gained credence when he made some policy changes relating to agriculture. The changes the CM sought to bring about were in perfect sync with the tenets of the NDA’s reforms in the farm sector which his party opposed tooth and nail in the Parliament. Exit of the state government from the business of paddy procurement by scrapping the village level paddy purchase centres is one of such policy changes. “After all, paddy procurement taken up by our government to insulate farmers from market shocks left a huge burden of Rs 7,500crore on the state exchequer in the last six years of TRS rule. So there will not be the role of the government in the market any longer,” KCR said, unveiling the policy changes. He further added, “The government is neither a business firm, nor a miller to procure food grains. The farmers can sell their produce anywhere”. This obviously means deprival of market intervention for the growers to ensure minimum support price in the coming days.
Though KCR declared himself as champion of farming community, he did not mind to even pay a visit to the protesting farmers in Delhi against farm reforms and empathise with them on the sidelines of his scheduled meeting with the PM and the Home Minister. The reasons for his staying away from the protests began to surface now with his U-turn favouring the Centre’s farm reforms.
Is he scared?
Why a roaring lion has now begun to take things lying down meekly? Pat comes from the BJP Telangana president Bandi Sanjay Kumar, who said KCR is scared of the prospects of his arrest in cases in which he is reportedly involved. This could be viewed as an ED or CBI threat held out by the mandarins in the BJP’s power corridors as was the case with many an opposition leader across the country.
But the political observers feel KCR is trying to buy peace with the BJP and get some respite from the saffron surge ahead of elections to Khammam and Warangal municipal corporations and graduate and teacher MLC elections for Khammam and Hyderabad segments, besides the by-election in Nagarjuna Sagar. The TRS chief, known as a weathercock capable of sensing the direction in which the political winds are blowing, is believed to have succeeded in peddling the idea of combating the common enemy of the Congress with the BJP top brass in the ensuing elections. Unlike in the GHMC and Dubbaka, the Congress is a force to reckon with in Nagarjuna Sagar, Khammam, Warangal and the MLC segments covering Nalgonda and Mahbubnagar. The Congress after losing its position as the principal opposition with the poll reverses in Dubbaka and GHMC is on the look-out for firebrand leaders like A. Revanth Reddy and Komatireddy Venkata Reddy to head the Telangana unit in a feverish bid to regain its lost ground.