K. Chandrasekhar Rao hits out at Modi govt, says ready to be part of third front

Hyderabad: Hitting out against the centre for not ‘cooperating’ with the state government, Telangana chief minister K. Chandrasekhar Rao on Saturday indicated that he is ready to be part of a third front if required. Stating that India needs “change”, the chief minister said that he was talking to other parties and will step into the national scene if his health allowed it.

“See, it can be a third front or anything else, but India needs change. We are talking (with parties)… I promise today, that if needed to step into national politics and to improve it, I will announce it to Modi as well. The country needs change. Till when will we hear stories that there are changes in the US and China,” questioned the chief minister, while addressing a press conference on Saturday evening after overseeing a parliamentary meeting with Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) MPs.

Rao stated that promises made to the state in the AP Reorganization Act 2014 have not been fulfilled and his party will demand them for Telangana. His comments were made on similar lines of the AP government, which has been at loggerheads with the centre on similar issues.

Rao specifically mentioned the special incentives for industries, which he said were given to states like Uttarakhand, and added that no funding has been given to Telangana to set up institutes like the All India Institute of Medical Sciences and Indian Institute of Management so far post the state’s bifurcation. Responding to Bharatiya Janata Party’s state unit’s allegation that he had insulted the prime minster at an event some days ago, the chief minister denied making any such statements.

“I have nothing against Modi and I have respect for him. Another point to be noted is that I am his best friend. People hardly know the matters that we have discussed. I have nothing against the BJP, but the slow pace of progress in India, which is not digestable,” Rao said, and added that so far what is happening is not “satisfying”.

Rao also said that his government will raise the issue of increasing the 50% reservation cap in the state. “Tamil Nadu has more than 50%, and not the rest. How can this be?” he questioned, and added that his comments were made on the lines of “unifying” the country. The chief minister categorically stated that he has no dispute with Prime Minister Narendra Modi at an individual level, but that he was talking “about the system of the country”.

“I even supported him on demonetization and GST (goods and services tax) as well. I am talking about the whole country,” Rao said and dismissed questions about the TRS’s alliance, stating that his party has a clear majority in the assembly (90 MLAs including defections out of 119).livemint