Why hasn’t Telangana Congress government joined Karnataka’s protest over funds?

Much like Karnataka, which received no assistance from the Union government, Telangana also found itself empty-handed in the national budget.

ByRaj Rayasam

Published Feb 07, 2024 | 3:42 PMUpdatedFeb 07, 2024 | 3:42 PM

Chief Minister Revanth Reddy. (X)

It might seem peculiar but the Telangana Congress has refrained from throwing its weight behind the agitation led by its Karnataka counterparts against the Union government for the injustice meted out in the release of tax devolutions and grants-in-aid.

Among all southern states, Telangana is the only state that hasn’t raised its voice over reduced devolution to States. In Telangana, it is the Opposition party BRS that has so far condemned the lack of new announcements for the state in the interim Union budget.

While the TPCC leaders are immersed in devising strategies for the upcoming Lok Sabha elections, Karnataka Chief Minister Siddaramaiah, Deputy Chief Minister DK Shivakumar, and a host of ministers, along with Karnataka Congress leaders, are fervently protesting the BJP dispensation at Jantar Mantar in Delhi.

Much like Karnataka, which received no assistance from the Union government, Telangana also found itself empty-handed in the national budget. However, it opted not to join the protest led by Siddaramaiah.

Also Read: CM Siddaramaiah leads protest against fiscal injustice in Delhi

‘Have our own action plan’

“It is not a national call by the AICC. Karnataka has decided to stage a protest at Jantar Mantar in Delhi. That is their way of taking the BJP on. We have our own action plan to deal with the saffron party. There is no need for us to follow Karnataka, though, it is fighting for a just cause,” a senior congress leader told South First, on the condition of anonymity.

He also sought to dispel the notion that the party had adopted a soft stance towards the saffron party — as is being alleged by the Opposition BRS.

The BRS leaders persist in alleging that Revanth Reddy and his team lack the ability to combat the BJP, asserting that BRS alone can exert pressure on the BJP.

The Telangana Congress is cognisant of the Union government’s discrimination against the state in allocations and project sanctions. “We will deal with the BJP in our own way,” another Congress leader told South First, even as the BRS continues to criticise the Congress for not vociferously opposing the injustices as they do against the pink party.

“In Karnataka, the BJP is the main rival to the Congress. But in Telangana, the saffron party is of no consequence. Our fight here is with the BRS. We are moving against KCR and his leaders, accordingly,” another Congress leader told South First.

Barely months ago, Telangana Congress was entirely dependent on its Karnataka counterpart to help it emerge victorious in the assembly elections. From leaders, cadres to resources and management, Karnataka Congress provided the much needed backing to Telangana Congress.

Also Read: Reasons why Karnataka is protesting against Union government

BRS pulls up Congress

Following the presentation of the vote-on-account budget by Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman in Parliament, the BRS retaliated against the Telangana Congress for maintaining silence despite the blatant injustice done to the state.

In a message on X after the interim Budget presentation, BRS working president KT Rama Rao questioned Chief Minister Revanth Reddy about his silence on the zero allocations to Telangana.

He said, “Yet not a word against BJP from the Telangana CM! Deafening silence. What are you scared of? Why this abject surrender on the interests of the state? From meekly signing and handing over projects to KRMB to staying absolutely silent on injustice meted out to state, (your attitude is) truly appalling.”

BRS workers erected posters in Hyderabad, condemning the absence of funds or projects for the state in the national budget.

The BRS is formulating plans to criticise the Congress through agitations. It has already announced a major public meeting in Nalgonda on 13 February to protest against the “surrender” of the state’s rights on irrigation projects on the Krishna river to the Union government.

On Tuesday, BRS leader and former Agriculture Minister Singireddy Niranjan Reddy alleged that the “abject” surrender of the state’s interests to the Union government hinted at a clandestine understanding between the Congress and the BJP.