13 reasons why KCR attacks PM Modi so directly
Chief Minister of Telangana. K Chandrashekar Rao was someone the BJP could rely on – so why exactly did he suddenly go ballistic? KCR, as it is known, attacked not only the BJP, or the Centre, but the PM, mocking its famous “Gujarat model” and alleging that the PM picks outfits based on elections, bending to states heading to the vote.
KCR and his party, the Telangana Rashtra Samithi or TRS, have sided with the BJP on crucial issues in parliament, voting with the ruling party and regularly breaking ranks with the opposition.
What changed? Check out these 13 reasons:
1. National role: KCR has national political ambitions. Targeting the prime minister is a surefire way to get noticed as a viable frontline leader ahead of the next general election. It also presents him to other opposition leaders as a daredevil partner, fearless in taking the fight to the Prime Minister’s doorstep.
2. State vs Center and Regional vs National: KCR often speaks of the two national parties, the Congress and the BJP, failing the needs of the states. KCR would like to take advantage of any disillusionment with national parties and sees an opportunity for regional players like him to present an alternative. He therefore denounces the prime minister’s “Gujarat model” or election victory strategies as social media gimmicks while claiming that he on the other hand is leading the real state model.
3. Fluent in Hindi: KCR speaks Hindi and English as well as Telugu and Urdu. During Tuesday’s press conference, where he announced his intention to play a national role, KCR spoke at length and clearly not only in Telugu and English, but also in Hindi, especially when targeting the Center – it ensures that a national audience knows exactly what he said. This is a big advantage he enjoys over several other leaders like Chandrababu Naidu, MK Stalin or Deve Gowda. KCR’s ability to communicate well in Hindi could make it more acceptable and visible nationally.
4. Domestic constraints: On the national territory, KCR will fight against two anti-incumbent mandates; India’s youngest state will then vote in 2023. In 2018, he brought state elections forward by a few months and managed to improve his party’s score to 88 (out of 117). The Congress has been the main opposition in Telangana so far, but the BJP has gained a foothold and is aggressively trying to grow. He must therefore control the BJP, which is why the party and the Prime Minister are now his target.
5. “The underprivileged need me”: The chief minister used his post-budget press conference to project the BJP as a party that does not care about backward castes, farmers or the poor. He shared figures for the allocations made by the Center and compared them to the allocations made by his own government to suggest that he is the true champion of the underprivileged.
6. Is imitation the best form of flattery? KCR often likes to point out that the schemes it has introduced as Rhythu Bandhu (Direct investment support which gives each farmer owner Rs 8,000 per acre every year), Mission Bhagiratha (a tap in each dwelling to supply water), Aarogyasri (health insurance) have been copied by the Center in the form of Kisan Samman, Jal Jeevan and Ayushman Bharatbut adds that his own projects have better reach and reach.
7. Secure on the Home Front: KCR is undeniably Telangana’s greatest political leader. Within his TRS party, he is the undisputed leader and there is no major internal crisis. There is a clear succession plan with son KT Rama Rao emerging as a tech-savvy leader who has impressed the next generation. This leaves KCR free to look beyond its territory and play a national role.
8. Skip Local, Skip National: Locally, KCR faces an aggressive BJP leadership targeting it on multiple issues such as what farmers are paid for food grains, not enough jobs for youths, alleged family rule and concentration of power, alleged corruption. But he does not want to raise the visibility of these largely local leaders, by being seen reacting to their allegations, so he prefers to target PM Modi, whose popularity could also cost him votes in the election.
9. Farmers’ anger: With a bumper crop in Telangana, procurement was becoming a challenge for the Telangana government. BJP leaders accused the KCR of asking farmers not to grow paddy in rabi (to alleviate oversupply), but the KCR blamed the Center for refusing to buy the paddy. He organized a maha dharna of farmers in Hyderabad a day before the withdrawal of agricultural laws in Delhi, and declared himself the political voice of farmers in the country.
10. Road Less Traveled: KCR’s attempts to assemble a non-BJP, non-Congress front failed ahead of the 2019 election. But KCR is not giving up. He has already met leaders like MP Stalin, Tejashwi Yadav, Pinarayi Vijayan and leftist leaders, and plans to meet Uddhav Thackeray soon. He knows it will be difficult to come together for a common minimum agenda, but believes that the anger of non-BJP states over decaying federalism and the real fear that the BJP will expand its foothold provide them with enough grounds for unity. .
11. India for All: While never hesitating to flaunt its attachment to Hindu rituals, KCR is also scathing about the BJP’s alleged divisive politics and says the youth must come together for a better India as ‘no one goes to Afghanistan to invest’ . They come to places like Telangana which have a pleasant environment, he insists, pointing to the state’s progressive industrial policy, atmosphere of community friendship and peace here which brings capital investment.
12. Motivate young people: KCR insists India will ‘respond’ at the right time, as it did during the emergency, and says its long-running campaign for statehood for Telangana was fueled by the support and public participation, and that he had motivated the young people, sending them away with the need for revolution, and thus Telangana was born even though many were dismissive and mocked at his efforts.
13. KCR has had a long run in public life: He started with Congress, was a founding member of Telugu Desam with NTR (they quickly formed the government), he is senior to main rival Chandrababu Naidu, twice served as Minister of State in Andhra Pradesh . He then founded his own party and led the agitation that gave birth to India’s youngest state. He served as Union Minister in the UPA (2004-2006) and has a good personal relationship with key opposition leaders like Sharad Pawar, Mulayam Singh Yadav, Shibu Soren and Lalu Yadav. KCR has the networking and lobbying skills essential to its aspirations for a role across India.
(Uma Sudhir is Editor-in-Chief, NDTV)
Disclaimer: These are the personal opinions of the author.