Wednesday, February 21, 2024

Name change, shifting stance, me-first attitude cost KCR dearly

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B Krishna Prasad

After watching the splendid victory of the Congress party in the just-concluded Telangana Assembly elections, many people may want to know the reasons behind the disappointing performance of the ruling party. Here is my take on the election results in Telangana.
The first and foremost reason is Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao’s decision to strategically change his party’s name from Telangana Rastra Samiti (TRS) to Bharata Rashtra Samiti (BRS).
This single decision befouled the soul of the party. TRS was formed to achieve separate statehood and ensure all-round development of Telangana, which had been a backward region for over six decades. The soul and spirit of the party was Telangana sentiment; that is, till KCR took a decision to drop ‘Telangana’ word from the party’s name. The decision was tantamount to moving the soul out of the party apparatus. The very connect with people was lost with this decision. KCR’s big statements about his party contesting in other states have since eviscerated the party of its special identity and raison d’etre.
The second reason is that KCR chose not to heed the words of caution about brewing discontent over a large number of sitting TRS MLAs losing their connect with people. Busy with money- making activities, these MLAs, warned publicly by KCR himself, became sitting ducks for people to vent their displeasure in their respective constituencies.
Still KCR, instead of reading the writing on the wall, with his wonted audacity, went ahead with not many changes in the MLA candidates’ list. Had KCR accepted the ground reality and replaced at least 30 sitting MLAs with fresh faces, he would not have faced this defeat.
The third reason is KCR’s frequent change of stance on the Congress, Bharatiya Janata Party and on several key issues. He once praised AICC leader Sonia Gandhi for the formation of Telangana and later changed his discourse to use sharpest words to criticise her.
Similarly, he had supported the NDA government on several occasions without giving a rational justification only to change his stance later. He came out strongly on Prime Minister Narendra Modi and other leaders after his announcement regarding the repositioning of his party as BRS and expansion of its footprint. But he conveniently forgot his unqualified support to NDA candidates for the President, Vice President posts, demonetisation, GST etc. The same thing happened on his poll promise of making a Dalit the Chief Minister of Telangana and giving three acres of land to Dalits.
He tried to ridicule journalists for asking questions about his poll promises.
Having watched all these, people concluded that he is not a person who keeps his word. This enormously damaged the image of KCR who, until the other day, had been duly regarded as ‘father of Telangana’ by Telangana people.
KCR’s inaccessibility to people, officials and even MLAs created a gap between the Chief Minister and the outside world. Even ace newshounds, let alone common people, never knew who was giving advice to KCR on vital matters and whom if ever the CM was consulting on crucial issues.
Although there have been many ‘advisors’ in his administration, not one could dare to claim that they did succeed in giving him a bit of advice. From the construction of the Kaleswaram LIS to rebuilding the state Secretariat, no one was allowed to peremptorily give any suggestion and the entire planning, designing, and execution became KCR’s handiwork! This created a feeling among people that KCR is not only inaccessible but also ‘inadvisable’. All of this dented the good image he had justifiably earned by waging a 14-year-long movement to achieve Telangana State.
Telangana people are liberal minded. Unlike people in other states who are influenced by caste, religion and other fringe issues, Telangana people have always welcomed progressive ideas and even communist ideology. They fought against feudal system and rebelled against Razakars’ atrocities. Telangana people are broadminded and never accepted palace intrigues.
They have always supported democratic systems, liberal ideology, and assimilated all cultures in their region. Telangana stood strongly behind democratic values such as equality, freedom, and fraternity. How many in Telangana would now vouch for the existence of democratic values in several spheres of life? The Telangana movement succeeded only because of the united work of all sections, genders, castes, groups and people. The latter part of KCR’s rule allowed dilution of this team work and encouraged centralised governance.
In a centralized system, only one man has to take responsibility for the eventual outcome: be it success or defeat. Now it is KCR’s turn.

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