KCR’s wish list includes funds for Kaleswaram irrigation project and a separate high court for the state.
Telangana Chief Minister K. Chandrasekhar Rao wants the Centre to fulfil a host of wishes including special status for the state, funds for Kaleswaram irrigation project and a separate high court. The wish list comes days after the Telangana Rashtra Samithi abstained from the no-trust vote against Prime Minister Narendra Modi and has been communicated to Governor E.S.L. Narasimhan, who often acts as an interlocutor between KCR and the Centre. The Governor has assured the CM that he would forward the list to the Centre, according to sources close to KCR.
Narasimhan, the senior most Governor in the country with close to 11 years’ stint in Hyderabad, is highly valued by KCR ever since he came to power in 2014. He is known to have played an active political role during the days of the Telangana movement between 2009 and 2014, and enjoys significant clout in the Union Home Ministry and the Prime Minister’s Office.
Narasimhan has been entrusted with the task of solving many disputes between KCR and his Andhra Pradesh counterpart Chandrababu Naidu in the last four years, as he is the Governor for both the states.
Narasimhan, 72, is a 1968 batch IPS officer of Andhra Pradesh cadre and enjoys a close rapport with National Security Advisor Ajit Doval, also a 1968 batch IPS officer of Kerala cadre. It is this connection that prompted Narasimhan to play a political role in the two states on many occasions in the last four years.
For the first time, the CM Office of Telangana issued a press release on 22 July following an hour long meeting between Narasimhan and KCR at Raj Bhavan in Hyderabad. It said that KCR discussed several important issues including the current political situation. Usually, the official press releases avoid political angle in the CM-Governor meetings.
According to sources in both the CMO and the Raj Bhavan, both leaders discussed about a range of issues, mostly the political situation arising after the Central government won the no-trust motion by a hug margin on 20 July. The BJP had thanked the TRS for abstaining and KCR had won a praise from PM Narendra Modi, too.
A major point on the wish list is that Telangana should be given the special category status, in case Andhra was given in tune with the assurance made to the latter at the time of the bifurcation of the state in 2014. KCR had never before sought special status for Telangana. But after the no-trust motion, the CM has made it his prominent demand.
The demand assumes significance after the Congress Working Committee led by Rahul Gandhi at its first meeting this week promised the same to AP. TRS has dubbed the move of the Congress as anti-Telangana and vowed to fight the proposal tooth and nail. KCR told his ministers and senior leaders that special status to Andhra would take away all industries from Telangana.
Though the Centre has clarified that special status would not include any industrial incentives, TRS ministers and other leaders have been agitating against AP getting special status. “We will oppose special status for Andhra at every forum including the Parliament,” said TRS leader in Lok Sabha A.P. Jithender Reddy, while talking to this newspaper on Saturday.
The wish list includes allocation of funds that are badly needed to ensure victory of the TRS in the next year’s elections. Division of the Hyderabad High Court, currently common for the two Telugu states, and allocation of around Rs 30,000 crore for Kaleswaram project across River Godavari are top on the wish list of KCR.
Division of HC is an important issue for KCR as a large number of advocates from Telangana are unhappy over the delay in this regard. The advocates who played a role in the Telangana agitation have mounted pressure on the CM.
If Andhra is pressing for speedy completion of Polavaram project across River Godavari, Telangana has been keen on building Kaleswaram irrigation project on the same river. If Andhra is asking for Rs 56,000 crore from the Centre for Polavaram, Telangana is seeking Rs 30,000 for Kaleswaram, which would ensure water to around one crore acres in the state.
KCR also made another difficult demand that the Centre should transfer the seven revenue mandals (blocks) back to Telangana. The Modi government immediately after assuming power in May 2014 had taken a decision to transfer the seven mandals from Khammam district of Telangana to AP, for construction of Polavaram.
By raking up these old issues and fresh demands, KCR wants to build his poll plank for the coming elections. TRS leader are hopeful that the Centre would oblige them as they had solidly stood behind the BJP government on many occasions recently.