In pursuit of his national ambitions, Bharat Rashtra Samithi (BRS) supremo and Telangana Chief Minister K Chandrashekar Rao on Monday, 2 January, took his first resolute step — constitution of the party’s Andhra Pradesh unit and appointment of a party chief in the state.
On the occasion, he also gave a broad outline of the party’s approach to national problems.
“If you elect BRS to power at the Centre, within two years, India will sparkle as there would be no dearth of power supply. Farmers would get round-the-clock free power supply as it would cost not more than 1.45 lakh crore which is not much compared to what we get in return from the agriculture sector,” he said.
The chief minister also announced that once BRS is in the saddle at the Centre, even if the present dispensation sells Visakhapatnam Steel Plant (VSP), it would buy it back even if it meant incurring ₹10,000 crore to ₹20,000 crore loss.
“Similarly, we will buy back all the public sector undertakings which are on the chopping block of privatisation now, including the LIC, which has assets worth ₹42 lakh crore,” he said.
The BRS supremo promised Dalit Bandhu for all the Dalit families in the country as it would help them lead a life of dignity, as was happening now in Telangana.
BRS to spread wings post-Sankranti
Chandrashekar Rao said that the work of increasing the party’s footprint in other states will gain pace after Sankranti. Committees have been finalised for all the states.
“To begin with, we will get cracking with seven states. Our aim is to be present in all the Assembly segments all over the country,” he said.
Though not very critical of the BJP, he, however, did not lose an opportunity to take swipes at the party, blaming it for a lack of a proper policy to take the nation forward.
“If we do not have proper power supply or proper water supply it is all because our policies are lopsided. If we are having water wars it is because we have a bad water policy. We are always divided by narrow walls of parochialism, communalism, casteism, and groupism that impeded our growth,” he said.
He declared that the BRS was constituted to lead the nation on the road to prosperity, which is possible only by ushering in change.
The problem with our people is that they have no direction and even those parties which get absolute majority in elections do not know how to address the issues. They fail and then begin blaming others, he said.
He called upon Andhra Pradesh to be a partner in the national-building that he was very serious about. “Regardless of how long a journey is, it begins with one single step. BRS is for change and I want all of you to get involved in it,” he said.
Ex-IAS officer is BRS Andhra unit chief
The chief minister, at the end of his address at Telangana Bhavan, appointed former IAS officer Thota Chandrasekhar as BRS president in Andhra Pradesh. Two other leaders — former minister Ravela Kishore Babu and former IRS officer Parthasarathy — also joined the party in his presence,
Chandrasekhar who belonged to the Maharashtra IAS cadre, resigned in 2009 and joined Praja Rajyam Party floated by actor Chiranjeevi and sought election to Lok Sabha from Guntur, but lost it.
In 2014, he contested on a YSRCP ticket from Eluru, but lost again.
In 2019, he contested for the Assembly from Guntur West on a Jana Sena ticket and was again defeated. He belongs to the Kapu community, which is numerically strong in coastal Andhra Pradesh.
Ravela Kishore Babu was elected to the Assembly from Pattipadu in Guntur district in 2014 and was in the Chandrababu Naidu Cabinet.
In 2019, he joined Jana Sena but lost the election from the same constituency. Later he joined the BJP but, unable to adjust there, he came out of the party.
Chintala Parthasarathy, resigned as IRS officer and contested from Anakapalli Lok Sabha constituency on a Jana Sena ticket in 2019, but lost the election.
Though KCR had planned to put in place the party apparatus in Karnataka first as the state would be going for elections to the Assembly in the middle of this year, it is apparently taking time to prepare the ground there for the party to spread its wings.
After Andhra, Karnataka
The work, however, is going on, identifying districts where Telugu-speaking people live and finding those who have some leadership qualities to take party responsibilities.
As far as Andhra Pradesh is concerned, it is tricky territory as KCR was perceived as the villain of the piece during the heady days of the Telangana movement and subsequent bifurcation of the state in 2014.
Now that the TRS has metamorphosed into BRS, and the zeitgeist of the Telangana movement is now only a distant memory, and KCR is putting his feet on Andhra soil gingerly to see the reaction.
For some time now, KCR has been planning to visit Andhra Pradesh and address a huge public meeting either in Vijayawada or Guntur. He might also visit Visakhapatnam to address a similar meeting to endear himself to the people of Andhra.
Since morning, there was hectic activity at Telangana Bhavan as leaders who wanted to join the TRS arrived in Hyderabad.
Several workers of the two leaders arrived in the afternoon itself and some of them did palabhishekam to KCR portrait at Telangana Bhavan, expressing their loyalty to him.