Telangana IT and Industries Minister KT Rama Rao on Saturday, 17 September, said Union Home Minister Amit Shah being in Hyderabad to celebrate Telangana Liberation Day was a sort of a bullying tactic to make people fall in line with what the Central government.
“There was a time when the Union home minister came to Hyderabad to integrate it into the Indian union, but today after 74 years, another home minister has flown down to bully us into submission, wanting us to subscribe to their ideology, wanting us to adhere to whatever they say. It’s not acceptable,” said KTR, drawing parallels between India’s first home minister Sardar Vallbhbhai Patel and Shah.
He made this statement at a panel discussion during Dakshin Dialogues 2022, an event organised by South First in Hyderabad. The panel discussion was on the topic “Has India lost the spirit of federalism?”
The other panellists at the discussion were Tamil Nadu Finance Minister Palanivel Thiagarajan, Andhra Pradesh Finance Minister Buggana Rajendranath Reddy, and Lok Sabha member Shashi Tharoor. The discussion was moderated by the Centre of Policy Research president Yamini Aiyar.
KTR explains his stand
KT Rama Rao said India, without question, was enshrined and designed as a federal republic.
“However, over the last years, the Union government has put consistent effort to centralise power, and pushed the Union of states to become unitary states, and that is reflected in so many things in Hyderabad,” he said.
He added that 17 September, 1948, when the Hyderabad state became a part of India had different interpretations for different governments.
“We are celebrating Integration Day and the Union government is celebrating Liberation Day. If the Union government wanted to celebrate, they should have talked with state government, seeking opinion irrespective of our ideology. It’s not about the BJP vs the TRS, but Amit Shah came down here and delivered conflicting messages,” said KTR.
Recalling an incident from earlier this month, he said: “Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman made a scene and asked if the prime minister’s photo was in a fair-price shop in Telangana. If the Union finance minister has her way, probably even the picture of Mahatma Gandhi on currency notes would be replaced with that of Prime Minister Narendra Modi.”
He added that southern states have 19 percent of the population, but are contributing 35 percent of the economy. Yet, the Central government was pushing its ideas when giving money to states.
“The Central government says if you are taking money, I am the giver, you are the taker, and you have to oblige us. My exchequer from Telangana contributes ₹1, but gets back only ₹0.46. Why should I not get to decide?” he asked.
Link to the livestream of the inaugural Dakshin Dialogues event held by South First: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U-AEKnYA704
Link to all the videos from the event: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCbZMvW807JWuNBOcYK5c91w/videos
Link to the news reports from the event: https://www.thesouthfirst.com/category/dakshin-dialogues/