Telangana Urban Affairs and IT Minister KT Rama Rao on Saturday, 17 September, launched a broadside against Prime Minister Narendra Modi, describing his claims about “cooperative federalism” as mere “lip service”.
The TRS leader was speaking at the first edition of the Dakshin Dialogues at ITC Kakatiya in Hyderabad, which also marked the official launch of the South First.
“PM speaks about cooperative federalism, but is there cooperative federalism in the way they behave and then execute actions? It’s more of coercive federalism,” he said, adding that unless the spirit of cooperative federalism is implemented on the ground, it’s “just lip-service”.
Taking a swipe at the BJP, KTR asked how many times the Union government has sat down with the governments of different states to discuss issues.
“PM talks of Team India, but how many times has he made the efforts to sit down with the government? Where is Sabka Saath, Sabka Vikas (cooperation and development of all)?” he asked, claiming Gujarat was the epicenter of all development.
While alleging that the Union government does not follow a dialogue or learning process, KTR, who is also the minister for municipal administration, cited an example, “Nineteen out of the 20 best villages (in India) are in Telangana. If a state government is implementing a good scheme, should the others not learn and replicate it? I don’t think there has been a single situation where the Union government appealed to the states to learn from each other.”
States losing autonomy
According to KTR, the Union government should encourage state governments to perform and should give flexibility in opting for or opting out of centrally sponsored schemes.
“The Constitution of India is unitary as well as federal. The Union government should consult state governments and seek our opinion before making decisions,” he said, adding that the stronger the states are, the stronger India is going to be.
However, the Sircilla MLA was of the view that the BJP-led Union government has an attitude that smacks of a superiority complex.
KTR pointed out that the real problem arises when officials and leaders from the Union government try to impose their decisions on states.
“This attitude from Delhi angers me. I admire the guts of leaders from the northern part of India who lecture us (southern states) on development. We are 19 percent of the total population, but we contribute 35 percent to the GDP of the country,” he said.
“With this approach, the Union government is imparting a conflicting message. In 1948, one Union Home Minister (Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel) saved Hyderabad but today after 74 years another Union Home Minister (Amit Shah) is bullying us,” KTR observed.
74 years ago, A Union Home Minister came to UNITE & INTEGRATE The People of
Telangana into Indian union
Today A Union Home Minister has come to DIVIDE & BULLY
The People of Telangana & their state Govt
That's why I say, India needs
DECISIVE POLICIES Not
— KTR (@KTRTRS) September 17, 2022