Stormy debate in T’gana Legislative Assembly as Cong, BRS engage in war of words

Hyderabad: The Telangana Legislative Assembly on Saturday witnessed a stormy debate on the Motion of Thanks to the Governor’s address with the ruling Congress and the opposition BRS indulging in a war of words over the track record of the two parties while in power, alleging ‘family rule’ and others.

BRS Working President K T Rama Rao, who alleged that the Governor’s address was full of untruths and that he is “shameful as a member” to listen to such a speech, attacked the Congress that its rule in undivided Andhra Pradesh was marked by parched lands, hunger deaths and suicides.

Chief Minister A Revanth Reddy led the Congress defence, citing the alleged family rule, non-completion of irrigation projects, ignoring the families of those who sacrificed their lives for the cause of Telangana statehood, leak of question papers and other failures during the 10 years of BRS rule.

“… our government broke the iron gates of Pragati Bhavan (former CM KCR’s camp office-cum-official residence). It is a government elected by the people. It is the people’s government. Ministers did not have an entry to meet the Chief Minister then. Gaddar (folk singer), who gave a push to the Telangana agitation, did not have an entry. But, today, the government is ready to listen if minorities, Dalits, tribals, women, weaker sections say we have a problem,” the CM said.

The debate on the Motion of Thanks to the Governor’s address on Saturday is the first debate after the formation of the third Telangana Legislative Assembly following the recent elections.

In a sharp attack on the Congress, Rama Rao, son of former Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao, alleged that lack of electricity and water supply, dictatorial rule, emergency and attacks on state governments and unfulfilled ‘garibi hatao’ slogan were the order of the day during the ‘Indiramma Rajyam’ (the welfare rule of former PM Indira Gandhi promised by the Congress).

He also alleged that Telangana Congress leaders, in an undivided AP, kept quiet for the sake of posts and also when the then CM Kiran Kumar Reddy “refused” to give any funds to Telangana.

State Transport Minister Ponnam Prabhakar countered Rama Rao by saying a separate Telangana State was achieved with the Congress also fighting for it due to the belief that Telangana was discriminated against in the undivided state.

The debate should be about the government programmes after Telangana formation in 2014, he said.

Deputy Chief Minister Mallu Bhatti Vikramarka said people had fought for Telangana and it was Congress which fulfilled the demand of separate. However, Telangana which was a surplus state is burdended with Rs five lakh crore debt during the BRS regime since 2014, he said.

Chief Minister Revanth Reddy, who intervened, referred to Rama Rao talking about the past and said it was Congress which made former CM KCR as a vice-president in the Youth Congress and it was again Congress which made KCR an MP and an Union Minister.

KCR’s nephew and MLA T Harish Rao was made a minister in the government of Y S Rajasekhara Reddy in undivided AP when the former was not even a legislator, he said.

It was the late Congress leader P Janardhan Reddy who had fought for Telangana’s interests in an undivided AP over the issue of Pothireddypadu head regulator, Revanth Reddy said.

Several incumbent BRS MLAs were in power in undivided AP which is being criticised now, he said.

The government is ready for a debate if the opposition members are keen on a debate about the past, Revanth Reddy said.

The government has presented its vision document and the opposition should make constructive suggestions, he said.

Later, replying to the debate, CM Revanth Reddy hit out at the BRS, saying people of the state gave a verdict against family rule in the recent elections.

In a veiled reference to Rama Rao speaking for the BRS, he said he and people had expected that any experienced members of BRS would get the opportunity to speak but the people were left disappointed as only the “family” got the opportunity.

Referring to the BRS claiming to be a party that ran the Telangana agitation, he asked whether the then Chief Minister (KCR) ever invited any family members of those who sacrificed their lives for the cause of Telangana to his camp office-cum-official residence and extended help.

Without mentioning KCR’s name, he said the former CM, however, gave posts to his son, nephew and daughter .

Did the former CM ever review the police cases against the students and others who supported the Telangana cause and tried to remove such cases, he asked.

The BRS claims to have grown on the back of the Telangana agitation but the BRS government disbanded the ‘Dharna Chowk’ in Hyderabad, a venue for democratic protests, he said.