Telangana Chief Minister K. Chandrasekhar Rao (KCR) has decided to roll out a royal welcome to Prime Minister Narendra Modi on the latter’s maiden visit to Telangana on 7 August. He is arranging a massive public meeting marking the inauguration of Mission Bhagiratha, a piped drinking water scheme, at Gajwel in Medak district. The PM will spend about eight hours in Telangana.
However, the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) has turned down on security grounds a proposal from KCR to hold a “Sudarshan Yagam” (yagna or ritual fire) at the latter’s farmhouse near Gajwel and invite PM Modi to it and honour him with “prasadam”. The CM has a vow to perform the yagam, if everything goes well and the PM comes to launch Mission Bhagiratha.
The CM was keen on having the presence of the PM at the yagam on the day. KCR, who met the PM on 18 July in Delhi, invited him to visit the state and launch Mission Bhagiratha and grace the yagam which would be performed for the well-being of the country. The PM instantly accepted the invite and confirmed his schedule within a week.
But the PMO, according to sources in the Chief Minister’s Office (CMO), was worried that the yagam, which involves a lot of fire, might pose a security risk to the VVIPs. The fire accident when KCR performed “Ayutha Chandi Yagam” in December, which led to the cancellation of President Pranab Mukherjee’s visit, weighed on their mind.
This is also a first visit by a PM to Telangana since it was formed two years and two months ago. The venue of the public meeting is near the Chief Minister’s farmhouse near Errabelli village in Gajwel Assembly constituency represented by him. KCR and his entire Cabinet will receive the PM at Begumpet airport at 2.30 pm and the two leaders will share the dais at the Gajwel public meeting.
The PM in his main function on his tour will inaugurate “Mission Bhagiratha”, a piped drinking water scheme to all villages in Telangana from Errabelli village. This is KCR’s pet scheme which he promised in his election manifesto and vowed not to seek votes in 2019, in case he failed to supply drinking water to all households by then.
The PM will also flag off five other projects on the day — commissioning of a 1,200 MW thermal power plant at Jaipur in Adidlabad district built by Singareni coal mines, foundation stones for a 1,600 MW thermal power plant at Ramagundam by NTPC, a fertilizer plant at the same place, a new railway line between Kothapalli and Manoharabad and a Kaloji Narayana Rao health university at Warangal.
Though these five projects are located in different parts in northern Telangana, the PM would green flag them from Gajwel itself through remote control. Initially, he wanted to fly to all these places, but the PMO curtailed his movement to Gajwel alone as intelligence reports warned of a security risk as all these places are in areas with Maoist presence.
One addition which was not in the original programme was a large gathering of BJP activists at LB Stadium in Hyderabad. The PMO, which received requests from Telangana BJP leaders for a party meeting with PM Modi has included it in the itinerary. Now the PM will address BJP booth-level committee leaders at LB Stadium for an hour till 8 pm, before leaving for Delhi.
Interestingly, at the same venue, he addressed an election rally before the 2014 elections and also a rally immediately after he was announced as BJP’s PM candidate a year before. On both occasions, he evoked a huge response. The PM’s meeting now assumes significance in view of BJP president Amit Shah’s decision to strengthen the party in Telangana in the next three years. The deletion of Sudarshana Yagam and inclusion of a BJP leaders’ meeting on the PM’s itinerary have definitely dampened the spirits of the ruling TRS circles. However, KCR hasn’t lost his enthusiasm in rolling out a red carpet to the PM. The CM held a meeting with all senior Cabinet ministers and officials on Friday to monitor arrangements for PM Modi’s visit.
Deputy CM Kadiam Srihari, who attended the meeting later told The Sunday Guardian that the CM was keen on making this a memorable visit for PM Modi. “After all, the PM is coming to our state for the first time and we will certainly present him with a memorandum of our wish-list. As a new state, Telangana needs a lot of support from the Centre,” said the deputy CM.
The memorandum, which is in preparation by officials, is expected to include demands like creation of a separate High Court for Telangana and granting a one-time economic package on par with the one expected to be announced for Andhra Pradesh and fair treatment in allocation of Krishna river waters and special grants for some major irrigation projects.