In a dramatic move, the ruling Telangana Rashtra Samiti (TRS) party’s Secretary-General and Rajya Sabha MP, K Keshav Rao, has opted to play ‘trouble-shooter’ role to resolve the ongoing TSRTC strike, which entered 10th day, in a bid to save the ‘sagging image’ of the party as well government.
His appeal to the agitating TSRTC employees to resolve their problems with the government in most amicable way by holding talks with the government, was welcomed by the JAC. The JAC wanted the senior leader to play the mediator role an expressed their willingness for reopening talks with the government, which were strained with the adamant attitude of none other than the Chief Minister, K Chandrasekhara Rao.
Chief Minister even threatened to relieve all the 48,000 striking employees as they failed to report to their duties by the deadline set by his government. He also held series of meetings with the top officials and directed them to go ahead with fresh recruitments of staff.
In that volatile backdrop, the appeal of Keshav Rao came and it gave some sigh of relief to the agitating employees as well embarassed government, which was in a ‘fix’ how to wriggle out of the problem.
In that back drop, many feel for the first time after the employees, who went on strike 10 days ago, on Monday allowed themselves to have the luxury of hope for an early end to the impasse before Deepavali, with signals emanating from the government that it may not be averse to holding talks with them.
Though the leaders of the TSRTC employees’ unions held their ground, saying the demand to merge the corporation with the government was not negotiable, the staff were finding it tough to survive the battle of nerves with the government. Two of them have ended their lives and two more attempted suicide, lending an element of poignancy to their agitation.
K Keshava Rao’s statement indeed viewed as significant departure from the state government’s stand that it would not, under any circumstances, hold talks with employees of the TSRTC and that those who were on strike should consider themselves out of the organisation. Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao, on more than one occasion, made this very clear.
Keshava Rao, in his statement, said his heart went out to the family members of the TSRTC staff who committed suicide, and felt that it was not the way to address the issue.
He urged the TSRTC staff to call off their strike before it went out of hand.
“The government is always considerate to the issues of the TSRTC employees,” he said and felt that felt that the alternative plan the chief minister proposed — reducing the TRSTC fleet by half and meeting 30 per cent of the remaining requirement by taking buses on hire, and the balance by issuing permits to private buses as stage carriages — must be viewed as an experiment against the backdrop of he ongoing agitation.
Meanwhile, officials of the Joint Action Committee of Telangana Employees, Gazetted Officers, Teachers, Pensioners and Workers on Monday said they were not against the strike, and would take initiative to speak to RTC employees to end the agitation