KCR’s attack on Naidu not personal: Keshava Rao

Dismissing suggestions that the popularity of the K Chandrasekhar Rao government has taken a hit and his party might not perform in the December 7 elections as expected earlier, Telangana Rashtra Samithi Secretary-General K Keshava Rao said the ruling party has no challenger in India’s youngest state.

In an interview to E T B  Sivapriyan of DH in Hyderabad, Keshava Rao, the chairman of TRS’ manifesto committee, spoke about KCR’s no-holds-barred attack against Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu and the party’s performance in the past 4.5 years. Excerpts:

There is a perception that the popularity of the TRS and Chief Minister K Chandrashekar Rao has plummeted after the Assembly was dissolved in September. 

I would say the popularity graph of TRS has gone several notches up in the past few weeks and the huge attendance registered at every rally addressed by KCR is a pointer to people’s mood. Some people thought the Congress’ campaign would pick up but that has not happened. I can say there is no opposition to TRS in this election and there is no challenge as well. TRS will retain power in Telangana.

If that is the case, why has the campaign turned personal? More than issues and healthy debates, personal attacks are dominating the poll campaign. Isn’t this trend unhealthy for political discourse?

I agree that the political discourse should be above personal attacks and some standards need to be maintained. The Chief Minister has refrained from making personal attacks against any of his political opponents and he has not even taken their names in the past few weeks. As a party, TRS does not hit anyone below the belt.

The Congress-TDP People’s Alliance claims the TRS government has nothing to show the people after ruling the state for 4.5 years. What has the TRS regime achieved after Telangana state came into being on June 2, 2014?

Telangana has topped in revenue collection for the past two years and it has been a leader in development. A total of Rs 48,000 crore has been spent on social sector – the maximum that any state government has spent so far on improving the lot of the people. Telangana is now a power-cut free state and farmers get electricity supply round the clock. No state government has a scheme where in farmers are given Rs 8,000 cash for each acre as incentive to buy seeds. From the time we assumed office till date, Telangana government has implemented 386 schemes that has benefitted every section of the society.

But joblessness is a major issue in the Assembly elections and Opposition parties are raking it up every single day. Even youth say TRS has failed in its promise of generating 1 lakh jobs in the government sector. Has the TRS failed on this count?

We promised 1 lakh jobs and 78,000 jobs have already been generated; the Telangana Public Service Commission has already begun the selection process. But we need to consider the jobs generated in private sector, especially IT. There are crores of people in the state and we cannot provide jobs for everyone.

If TRS is winning, why is KCR not talking development and instead focussing on attacking TDP chief N Chandrababu Naidu? Is the TRS trying to make it a Telangana Vs Andhra issue?

He (Naidu) is our opponent. KCR attacked Naidu for putting spokes in all the irrigation projects that is taken up by the Telangana government and he just wanted to educate the people that Congress might be influenced by Naidu and TDP if voted to power. This is all he wanted to convey. We know Naidu's limitations.

If the TRS knows Naidu’s limitations, why is the anti-Naidu rhetoric getting shriller each passing day?

See, we know our strategy and we can’t discuss our strategy. According to the Andhra Pradesh Reorganisation Act, the residuary state should provide power to the new state of Telangana, but Naidu has not done so far.

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KCR’s attack on Naidu not personal: Keshava Rao

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