‘Hyderabad to be UT if BJP wins’

The Bharat Rashtra Samithi (BRS) is once again regrouping in Telangana to fight one of its toughest electoral battles following the debacle in the Assembly elections last year.

‘Hyderabad to be UT if BJP wins’

KT Rama Rao (Representative image)

The Bharat Rashtra Samithi (BRS) is once again regrouping in Telangana to fight one of its toughest electoral battles following the debacle in the Assembly elections last year. It is leaving no stone unturned to prevent the Congress and the BJP from making the ongoing Lok Sabha polls a two-cornered fight.

In an interview with Anindita Chowdhury of The Statesman, BRS Working President K T Rama Rao talks about his sister K Kavitha’s incarceration in the Delhi excise scam, change in Telangana politics after the elections, and why he thinks Hyderabad, with its large minority population, will become a Union Territory if the saffron party gets a third term at the Centre. Excerpts:

Q: In Telangana, is this election bipolar or a triangular one?


A: It is clearly a triangular fight. But even in this triangle, there are several pockets where the Congress is our principal opponent and in others, it is the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). BRS is one party which is everywhere, and the BJP and the Congress seem to be playing a game where they are dividing the task to defeat the BRS through tacit understanding. In at least five to six seats, look at the candidates they (Congress) have fielded. Look at Secunderabad, Chevella, even Malkajgiri, Adilabad, Nizamabad — in all these seats, the Congress has fielded candidates who are uninterested in that particular seat or some absolutely random people.

Q. But didn’t they poach leaders from your party?

A: That is exactly my point. They took Patnam Mahender Reddy from the BRS. He wanted the Chevella seat for his wife. At the last minute, she was thrust into Malkajgiri because they did not have any candidate there. So this person now becomes a non-local, newbie and their heart is not into the campaign. Jeevan Reddy wanted to fight from Karimnagar, but he has now been fielded from Nizamabad. And they fielded a rank outsider and complete newbie in Karimnagar. In around seven constituencies, the Congress is, in fact, helping the BJP. This may sound incredible, but the Congress and the BJP had done this in the last Lok Sabha election as well because their objective in Telangana is to corner us – the BRS.

Q. But Congress is alleging you have cut a deal with the BJP to get your party MLA Kavitha released from jail?

A: If we had a deal with the BJP, Kavitha would not have been in jail in the first place. It is quite foolish to even think like that. Let me ask a counter question. How come all party leaders fighting Modi are in jail and the Congress, which is fighting it tooth and nail, its leaders are not in jail? Every single regional party, their top leaders or family members have been attacked, starting from Kejriwal, KCR, Hemant Soren, Pinarayi Vijayan, to Stalin even Abhishek (Banerjee) is going through his ED cases. If you look at the entire country, barring the Congress, every major party fighting the BJP is under the scanner.

Q. Since you are neither in the NDA nor INDIA bloc, what is the way forward?

A: Neither NDA nor INDIA bloc looks like they are going to get the magic figure by themselves. So tomorrow, there can be a third formation as well. We have seen the Congress supporting a coalition government where a majority party supported a minority government. There are 13 political parties which are non-aligned to either NDA or INDIA such as the BRS, YSRCP and the BJD. What is the guarantee that parties which are in NDA or INDIA will stick with them?

Q. You are raising local issues like misgovernance, water and power crisis in the ongoing parliamentary election.

A: Absolutely. Our slogan to the people has been “Give us 10-12 seats and KCR will rule the roost in state politics again”. Q. How would that be possible? A: We will ensure the agenda of the BRS and that of the people is implemented once again. Also we foresee a lot of political uncertainty beyond June 4, both in Telangana and the Centre. The chief minister here is facing cases. He is himself on a razor thin edge. Therefore, in politics when a party like the Congress is at the helm of affairs, you have seen strange things happening in the past.

Q. Are you referring to the cash-for-vote case against Chief Minister Revanth Reddy?

A: Yes, the final hearing in this case is on July 24.

Q. What is your take on the controversy surrounding the closure report in Rohith Vemula case?

A: Revanth Reddy seems to be on a mission to defy Rahul Gandhi. He seems to be toeing the line of Prime Minister Narendra Modi. He has differed with Rahul on every count. Rahul says Adani is a fraud, Revanth says he is a friend. On Modiji, Revanth says he is ‘Bade Bhai’, while Rahul keeps calling the Prime Minister ‘chor’ (thief). On the Gujarat model, Rahul says it is a ‘golmaal’ (dubious) model but Revanth Reddy says ‘bahut accha’ (good) model. On liquor scam, Rahul says there is no scam, while Revanth differs. About Rohith Vemula, Rahul says he wants to introduce an act to protect Dalit youth and students in large institutions, but the Revanth Reddy government went ahead and said he was not a Dalit.

Q. You have been saying in your rallies that Hyderabad, after remaining the joint capital for 10 years, will be made a Union territory. Isn’t it fear mongering?

A: Not at all. I am talking about how Hyderabad (with one MP and 7 MLAs from AIMIM) will be made a Union Territory because the BJP has no presence here and I do not see any change in the status quo in the near future. Likewise, they (BJP) will go for lopsided delimitation so that the voice of the south is suppressed because they do not have a hold here. Look at what is happening in Delhi – a UT state, how they are using the office of Lieutenant-Governor – a non-elected, nominated fellow to hound a democratically elected government. This is a danger not only for Hyderabad, but also for Bengaluru, Chennai, and Mumbai. The reason is that other than Mumbai, none of these are under BJP’s administration. They want a stranglehold on this country. The whole ‘one nation, one election’ is just a ruse to control the entire country’s electoral process.