Op-Ed: KTR’s Uncalled For Remark on Andhra Pradesh Doesn’t Augur Well for TRS

 - Sakshi Post

Kommineni Srinivasa Rao
Sr Journalist

KT Rama Rao aka KTR, the Telangana minister and TRS working president who is considered as proficient in languages other than Telugu recently had a slip of the tongue. Though he was quick to realise it and later tried to offer an explanation but the damage had already been done.  Both the Telangana and Andhra Pradesh states enjoy a mutual friendship and trust and in such an atmosphere KTR's comments came as a surprise.

Recently while addressing the gathering at the CREDAI’s event at HICC in Hyderabad, KTR said that, one of his friends who went to a neighbouring state to celebrate Sankranti festival, told him there was no electricity and the roads were in bad shape and he heaved a sigh of relief after coming back to Telangana. The mention of a neighbouring state and associating it with Sankranti, implies that he was commenting about the Andhra Pradesh state. 

The opposition TDP and a section of media nevertheless latched on to the neighbouring state’s minister’s remarks and without fact checking his criticism started targeting the Andhra Pradesh government. 

Whether KTR made those remarks intentionally or not, these comments are likely to do more harm to the TRS in Telangana than to the Jagan government in AP. Because the Telangana state is going to polls in 2023 and lakhs of Andhra people who have settled in Telangana, especially in Hyderabad form a sizeable votebank. Among these voters, there are a large number of people who ideologically support the YSR Congress party in Andhra Pradesh and the KTR’s comment may influence their voting decision. 

One has to think about who is at a loss because of these remarks. Responding to the critical comments of KTR, the people on social media have targeted the TRS and made sarcastic remarks about the party leader. 

The netizens posted photos of several roads in Hyderabad turning into puddles due to the recent unseasonal downpour and also shared the pics of boats plying on the roads in the old city. Barring a few like Minister Prashant Reddy nobody supported the KTR for his comments on a neighbouring state. They should remember that Hyderabad was not built in only the past eight years. 

Hyderabad city has evolved over the centuries and people from the coastal and Rayalaseema regions have also played a significant role in the development of the city and nobody can deny this fact. 

The people from these regions still dominate the sectors like real estate, pharma, etc. Some of the developmental programmes initiated by the former chief ministers like Nedurumalli Janardhanareddy, Chandrababu Naidu and YS Rajasekhara Reddy in various fields have put the city on the world map. 

Especially, the setting up of the financial district during the YSR regime established itself as a headquarters for the IT sector. This initiative also paved the way for the development of Nallagandla, Vattinagulapalli and other areas in the suburbs. 

Not to mention the construction of the 158-km long Nehru Outer Ring Road, the Rajiv Gandhi International Airport, the metro rail, etc. The achievements made during the eight years rule pale before the landmark developments happened in the erstwhile state. If we examine the TRS claim of developments politically, then one might ask how did the BJP win 48 wards in the GHMC elections?

If the entire Telangana is witnessing development then why did TRS lose the Huzurabad by-poll with a huge margin? The ruling party even failed to win the Dubbaka seat.

When we talk of all-round development then why did the state capital Hyderabad witness a flood-like situation when it rained heavily? The roadside cars also washed away in the recent floods. Several houses were damaged and it affected the small time business traders as the water entered into their shops. That doesn’t mean we should blame the development in Hyderabad. However, before making such remarks one should not forget the situation in their own backyard. 

The flood-affected victims were promised to give five thousand rupees as compensation. Only a handful of the persons were given the money while the rest were promised that they would receive it after the election but the promise was not fulfilled. 

One may find the farmers of Telangana drying their paddy crop on the roads and hoping to sell it as unseasonal rain and subsequent waterlogging may destroy the grain. How can you forget the recent criticism over the bad shape of roads in Hyderabad? It's only after public criticism, the GHMC did the repairs on bad roads.  

English print media had highlighted the poor condition of roads in a few colonies and had published their photos in their newspapers. The road situation is not different in the districts of Telangana either. 

BJP leader and former minister D.K. Aruna had challenged KTR to reveal the name of his friend and she would take him on a tour to Gadwal ( her hometown) and other districts of Telangana to show the bad roads in the state. This means the ground situation will be the same everywhere and therefore looking down upon others is not appreciable. 

KTR’s remarks would have a different context had their TRS party been in opposition in the AP state but that’s not the case here.  Currently, the laying and repairing of road works are being completed on a war footing in the Andhra state.

If we talk about the status of electricity in Telangana, it’s true Hyderabad residents are getting an uninterrupted power supply, however, the same cannot be said for the districts and villages.

The chief minister K Chandrasekhar Rao aka KCR made many tall promises to the people of Telangana. Did he fulfill them all? Did the AP Chief Minister YS Jagan Mohan Reddy or any of the YSR Congress party leaders question him about the poll promises not being fulfilled? Whereas the YS Jagan-led government initiated various public welfare schemes like Amma Odi, Cheyuta, Asara, Badulu Nadu-Nedu, Ward and Village secretariats, Rythu Bharosa Kendra, Village clinics etc. Do they not count it as development? If we continue to list the developmental activities, we can’t compare both the states. KTR’s party would be at loss if he makes unnecessary comments about the state of affairs of other regions. 

The young leader of a neighbouring state should think twice before stooping to a low level. He should know who will lose when he makes critical remarks about other states. 

As soon as KTR made the remarks, the opposition TDP and their leader Lokesh didn’t lose the opportunity to target the Jagan government. 

But the TDP leader is forgetting that the same KTR has earlier made comments against party chief Chandrababu Naidu. KTR had commented that during the funeral of TDP leader Harikrishna had shown his interest in forming an alliance with the TRS. Chandrababu was criticised saying he lacked proficiency in English language. Not only this, after the cash-for-vote scandal came to light, the Telangana Chief Minister KCR or other leaders made critical remarks about the party. 

The question here is will the TDP leaders accept these remarks too? That being said, what was the need to enquire about the AP situation from an unknown friend. KTR could have simply asked his cabinet colleague Talasani Sreenivas Yadav who often visits Godavari districts to celebrate the Sankranti festival. 

Even though the TRS leader made the critical comments attributing it to an imaginary friend but later in the middle of the night, KTR clarified that he treats the AP chief minister YS Jagan Mohan Reddy as a brother. If KTR stays away from making such controversial remarks in the future, it would be good for him and his party. 

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