Hyderabad: The formation day celebrations of Telangana came as the perfect launch pad for the ruling Bharat Rashtra Samithi’s (BRS) campaign for the Assembly elections scheduled later this year.
Aiming for a hat-trick, the BRS is going all out with a publicity blitzkrieg during the 21-day celebrations launched on June 2.
The three-week long programmes across the state to mark the decennial celebrations of Telangana have come handy for the ruling party to showcase its achievements during the last nine years and seek a fresh mandate on its basis.
Chief Minister and BRS president K. Chandrasekhar Rao set the tone for the celebrations with his marathon speech at the inaugural of the celebrations held in the backdrop of the newly-created State Secretariat, which itself was showcased as one of the achievements of the party and a reflection of the Telangana pride.
By announcing a slew of schemes for women, tribals, Dalits and artisans, KCR unofficially launched the campaign, giving BRS a head start over both the Congress and the BJP.
With barely 5-6 months to go for the elections, the formation day came as a golden opportunity for the BRS and KCR grabbed it with both hands by announcing the 21-day celebrations.
The format of the daily programmes to be held across the state left no one in doubt about its aim. From village to state level, the daily programmes will highlight the rapid strides made by the state during the last nine years.
In tune with the BRS efforts to project the Telangana model across the country, the celebrations will highlight the tremendous progress India’s youngest state has made in sectors like agriculture, irrigation, power, finance, industry, information technology, rural and urban development, education and healthcare. With welfare as its priority, the BRS will also showcase the revolutionary schemes implemented for farmers, women, Dalits and other weaker sections of the society.
Adding significance to the celebrations and to drive home the message that he will continue to roll out new welfare schemes, KCR declared at the inaugural that Gruha Lakshmi will be implemented from next month. Under this scheme, the government will extend financial aid of Rs 3 lakh to poor women to build houses on their own land. The government plans to spend Rs 12,000 crore for the implementation of this scheme for construction of 4 lakh houses.
KCR also used the occasion to announce the much-awaited date for distribution of Podu land among tribals. The distribution of land titles for 4 lakh acres to 1.5 lakh tribals will begin from June 24.
Podu is the practice of shifting cultivation on forest land by tribal and non-tribal forest dwellers. The long-pending dispute led to clashes between the cultivators and the forest employees at several places in the state in recent years.
The Chief Minister also announced that distribution of house sites to the eligible poor will also begin soon.
As a gift of the decennial celebrations, he announced Rs 1 lakh financial assistance each to artisans as an incentive for their professional work.
KCR also announced that the second phase of sheep distribution among Golla Kurmas will be launched during the decennial celebrations. Under this, sheep will be distributed among 3.38 lakh people at a cost of Rs. 5,000 crores.
He also announced the extension of the KCR nutrition kits scheme to the remaining 24 districts. To prevent the problem of anaemia in pregnant women, the government is providing nutrition with proteins and vitamins through these kits for the healthy growth of the foetus. This scheme is already under implementation in nine districts.
KCR also announced that the second phase of the Dalit Bandhu scheme will benefit 1.30 lakh families during the current financial year. Under the scheme, the government is providing a financial grant of Rs 10 lakh to every Dalit family to start any business of its choice. It has made a budgetary allocation of Rs 17,700 crore for the current financial year.
KCR, who revived the Telangana movement in 2001 and led from the front till achieving statehood in 2014, also used the occasion to recall the injustices suffered by the state in united Andhra Pradesh and the obstacles the new state had to overcome to emerge as number one in the country in many parameters.
The 69-year-old, who is eyeing a new record by becoming the first chief minister in south India to score a hat-trick, also added a personal and emotional touch to the celebrations.
“I feel blessed in my life that today I have been able to bring Telangana to the point where every Telangana citizen is known as a star shining in the blue sky of India. I will always remain grateful to the people of Telangana for giving me the golden opportunity and good fortune to spearhead both the Telangana statehood movement and the reconstruction of Telangana,” he said.
“My dear Telangana state needs to reach many more destinations and the highest peaks. With all your blessings, I promise that I will continue to work for the all-round development of Telangana as long as I have the strength in my body,” he added.
Political analyst Palwai Raghavendra Reddy believes that the whole aim of the celebrations is to project the face of KCR.
“This is nothing but a campaign by the BRS. Remember the government allocated Rs 1,000 crore in the 2023-24 budget for publicity and the entire allocation will be spent in the run up to the elections,” he said.
It may be recalled that the opposition parties had slammed the BRS government for increasing the budget for advertisements and publicity by a whopping 575 per cent in an election year.
Undeterred by the criticism of the Opposition over various issues, KCR is marching ahead and even his critics admit that he remains the tallest leader in the state.
Political observers say that with two terms in power, the BRS faces anti-incumbency but the absence of any face in the opposition Congress or the BJP and the TINA factor gives an edge to KCR.