KCR is hopeful that the Centre would ratify his zonal system that promises 95% reservation of jobs to locals in non-state cadre, as he readies for early elections.
Telangana Chief Minister and TRS president K. Chandrasekhar Rao (KCR) will be addressing a massive public meeting at Kongara Kalan on the outskirts of Hyderabad at 4 pm on Sunday. He directed his ministers, MPs and MLAs to mobilise not less than 25 lakh people from all over the state for the rally amid as “Pragathi Nivedana Sabha” (Progress Reporting Meeting).
This demonstration of strength through the rally comes in the wake of KCR’s plans to go for early polls to the state Assembly by December, along with Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh and Mizoram. The present term of the Telangana Assembly expires by 6 June and elections in the usual course will be held in April/May next year, along with Andhra Assembly and Lok Sabha.
KCR is upbeat over achieving some of his demands from the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)-led NDA government, especially its approval of the newly introduced zonal system in public employment and educational seats. The Centre has issued an extraordinary Gazette on 30 August, notifying the seven zones of Telangana replacing the previous two zones.
This new zonal system paves way for ensuring 95% jobs to locals in non-state cadre and seats in local universities. Initially, the Union Ministry of Home Affairs, which received the proposals in July first week, objected to this and proposed 85% jobs and seats to locals. However, KCR’s meeting with Prime Minister Narendra Modi on 25 August cleared the way for the state’s proposals.
According to sources close to the Chief Minister, the Prime Minister made it clear to KCR that the Centre won’t object to his plans to go for early elections to Telangana Assembly, but a final decision on this would be taken by the Election Commission (EC). A TRS MP who was present in Delhi last week said: “The Union Ministry of Home Affairs, through the Governor, will do the job of a postman and the EC will decide the date of election.”
The Centre is also granting KCR’s demands one by one after he met the PM. The Union Ministry of Home Affairs has filed a special leave petition in the Supreme Court this week expressing its readiness to divide the combined High Court in Hyderabad. Earlier, the Supreme Court commented that the High Court for Andhra Pradesh should be located only at a place in the state.
The Chief Minister is expected to claim the Presidential clearance to the new zonal system as a victory and announce notifications for some new jobs, too, at the Sunday rally. However, according to sources, he might not announce his decision to go for early polls at the rally, as there are some formalities to be completed before that.
The Chief Minister will have to decide on holding a monsoon session of Assembly before 27 September, after six months from the last session that ended in March this year. If a session is convened by then, the EC will have another six months, till March 2019, to hold polls for the fresh Assembly. Otherwise, the state might be placed under President’s Rule on the ground that the Assembly failed to meet within six months.
When KCR’s close aide and the state’s chief adviser Rajiv Sharma met some top officials of the EC, they told him that there are certain hurdles for Telangana going for polls along with four other states. The hurdles include revision of voters’ list and clubbing of seven revenue mandals (blocks) of Telangana into Andhra, among others. These mandals completely alter the two Assembly seats of Telangana.
When the issue of early poll plans of KCR figured at a meeting of BJP leaders with their national president Amit Shah at the Hyderabad airport on Thursday, the latter clearly told them that they should be prepared to face elections, whenever they are held. A senior BJP legislator confirmed to The Sunday Guardian that they had complained to Shah that the PM was being “too friendly and patronising” with KCR. Shah had told them that it was the Chief Minister and not the Prime Minister who is trying to be friendly. At the same time, Shah told his party leaders that they should not expect any seat-sharing with TRS as KCR is not ready for it. KCR wants to keep his unofficial ally Asaduddin Owaisi’s AIMIM happy by maintaining an open distance with the BJP in the Assembly elections.
Meanwhile, former Congress minister Marri Shashidhar Reddy called on EC officials in Delhi on Friday and urged them not to accept KCR’s request for early polls. Reddy told this newspaper from Delhi that he had submitted a memorandum stating that the present electoral rolls were faulty and polls should not be held without their revision by January. He wondered as to why KCR, who earlier backed the idea of simultaneous polls to save money, was now batting for separate elections.