Telangana CM Rao hints at early assembly polls

Hyderabad: Telangana appeared headed for an early assembly election with chief minister K Chandrasekhar Rao saying Sunday that he has been authorised by the party to take the final call on the issue.

Addressing a massive public meeting ‘Pragati Nivedana Sabha‘ (reportcard of over four-year old TRS government) on the city outskirts, he also said a committee headed by party’s Rajya Sabha member K Keshava Rao will be formed soon to work out the election manifesto with new schemes and programmes.

Though the wily TRS supremo, credited with achieving the separate state of Telangana, stopped short of saying he was about to declare dissolution of the assembly, none doubted its imminence.

“Ministers and the party leaders have entrusted me with the responsibility of taking a decision on the issue in the larger interest of the state. I will tell you when I take a decision,” he said referring to reports on early polls and dissolution of the assembly ahead of its term which ends next year.

In his around one-hour long speech, Rao asserted that the public again wanted TRS government in the State and sought their support to continue the welfare and developmental works being undertaken by it.

He also said the people of the state should not become slave to Delhi parties. Just like in Tamilnadu, we should also make sure that power is vested in our hands for self-respect rather than Delhi leadership dictating our State… don’t become slaves to Delhi parties, the chief minister added.

On reports that he was expected to announce new welfare schemes at the rally, Rao opined that it would not be proper as the head of the government he should consider many issues before making any promises.

The meeting had given rise to expectations in the backdrop of intense speculations that Rao was toying with the idea of going for early assembly elections.

Assembly elections in Telangana are scheduled to be held simultaneously with the Lok Sabha polls next year.

However, it is being speculated that the TRS government may opt for early polls on the presumption that there is a positive mood among people about the government.

State Minister and Rao’s son K T Rama Rao said Friday that discussions had been held in the party on advancement of the assembly polls, but no decision has yet been taken.

The speculation about early assembly polls has also gained ground with transfers of officials, including IAS officers, during the last several days.

The chief minister in a recent media interaction did not give a direct reply on reports of early assembly election, but had said the Election Commission has the discretion to conduct it within six months of the original schedule.

At Sunday’s meeting, Rao expressed hope of creating a “better” Telangana in future and hinted at increasing pension amounts and promised to address problems of unemployed youth.

Claiming credit for getting the new zonal system for Telangana, which paves way for 95 per cent of reservation to locals and five per cent for open category in public employment and education, he asked “Is it possible without me and the TRS”.

A detailed report on the welfare and development activities being implemented in the state was handed over to all those who participated in the meeting.

The report titled TRS Government Pragathi Nivedika mentions about 500 programmes and schemes being implemented in the State. Rao claimed that Telangana was the first state in the country where farmers were given24-hour free power supply.

It had also implemented Rythu Bandhu, scheme under which farmers get a capital subsidy of Rs 8,000 per acre every year. “Telangana is number one State in the country in terms of economic development,” he said and vowed to achieve the goal of irrigating one crore acres of land in the State.

TRS party workers expressed the hope that the schemes and programmes mentioned in the booklet will be made use as publicity material in the coming election campaign.

Party MLAs and prominent leaders said they would use it as a publicity material to seek votes in next elections.

Telangana Pradesh Congress Committee President N Uttam Kumar Reddy termed the meeting as an utter flop.

Rao’s speech was totally contrary to the hype that had been created around the event,” he said in a statement