Archrivals BJP and Congress have come together to fight against the K. Chandrasekhar Rao (KCR)-led TRS government in Telangana. The TDP-BJP alliance in Telangana and the main opposition, Congress have ensured a state bandh on farmers’ issues on Saturday. The bandh was near total and public transport and shops and hotels were shut down in Hyderabad and across the state.
The bandh was supported by smaller parties such as the CPI, CPM and YSR Congress. This is the first time that the opposition parties joined hands against the 17-month old TRS government. This was because the TRS government suspended their party MLAs in the last four days of the winter session of the Assembly that concluded on 7 October.
The police arrested several opposition leaders including Telangana Pradesh Congress Committee president N. Uttam Kumar Reddy, TDP Legislature Party leader E. Dayakar Rao, BJP senior leader N. Indrasena Reddy and several Left leaders at different places when they were demonstrating against the government in front of the state transport corporation bus depots.
The bandh was called primarily to protest the KCR government’s failure to prevent farmers’ suicides and to demand the agricultural loan waiver starting from 2 June 2014. Around 1,400 farmers are said to have committed suicide, although the governmental figures stand at 250. The measures taken by the government to help the beleaguered farmers and their families have not satisfied the opposition parties.
Congress’ N. Uttam Kumar Reddy told The Sunday Guardian that the unity among the opposition was a good development: “We have come together to fight against the TRS government’s anti-farmer policies. This fight will go on and we will organise many more such protests in the future.”
BJP state president G. Kishan Reddy described the 10 October bandh as the beginning of the long-drawn fight against the KCR government. However, Telangana IT and Panchayat Raj Minister K.T. Rama Rao described the opposition sponsored bandh as “anti-people”. “Instead of calling for a bandh, BJP leaders should go to the Centre and get more funds,” he told a media conference on Saturday.