Hyderabad: TRS working president and IT minister KT Rama Rao on Monday said there were multiple reasons for the TRS backing joint opposition candidate Yashwant Sinha for the presidential election, scheduled for July 18.
The prime reasons for this decision are to uphold the constitutional values which are under attack under the government led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, to raise a voice against the BJP’s ‘tokenism’ in fielding a tribal woman for the presidential polls, and to fight against the dictatorial and authoritarian policies of the Modi government.
Rama Rao along with TRS MPs was in Delhi on Monday to extend the party’s support to Sinha, who filed his nomination papers in the Parliament House on Monday.
Later, addressing a press conference in Delhi, Rama Rao said the TRS has no personal animosity against NDA candidate Draupadi Murmu but the party was against ‘tokenism’ and ‘symbolism’ shown by the BJP in fielding her for the presidential election.
Alleging that the Modi government has done nothing for the upliftment of the tribal community in the last eight years, Rama Rao said, “We don’t believe in tokenism or symbolism. It is not about Murmu’s candidature. She represents a party which is heavily reliant on unconstitutional practices. Therefore, we are vehemently opposing the BJP candidate. We have invited Yashwant Sinha to Hyderabad. If possible we will ask other opposition parties to support him.”
Speaking about Murmu’s candidature, Rama Rao said, “Bhishma was defeated since he was on Kauravas’ side in Mahabharat. Tokenism for tribal people in the form of Draupadi Murmu is not correct. She was a minister when 13 tribal people were killed in a steel plant agitation in Kalinganagar of Odisha in 2006. She has not condemned it.”
He alleged that the Modi government has been abusing all constitutional offices and there is a need to stop this. “Someone has to raise a voice against this and the TRS is doing this,” he said.
“Even the plight of Dalits has not changed much after the BJP made Ram Nath Kovind, hailing from the Dalit community, as President in 2017,” he added.
Rama Rao alleged that the BJP has not done anything for the welfare of the tribal community in the last eight years.
“A tribal university was promised for Telangana as part of the Andhra Pradesh Reorganization Act but it has not seen the light of the day yet due to the negligence of the Modi government. Besides, the Telangana government had requested the Center to increase the reservation for tribal people in the state due to the increase in their population. A resolution was passed in the Legislative Assembly four years back but the Modi government has not accepted the request. Presidential candidate was only an act of tokenism,” he said.
Rama Rao also said that the NDA government through an Ordinance forcefully took away seven mandals from Telangana which had more than 90 per cent tribal population and merged them in Andhra Pradesh in 2014.
“We don’t believe in tokenism. We don’t have any choice but to support Yashwant Sinha ji who has been supported by all Opposition parties. We are hopeful that he will be elected with the support of a lot of like-minded voters , he said.
On the Maharashtra political crisis, Rama Rao said the Modi government has been successful in pulling down democratically elected governments in eight states, including Karnataka and Madhya Pradesh.
He said that the central government has not done much for Telangana despite the state government contributing a major share in the country’s growth annually.
“The BJP has been misusing the Central agencies like income-tax, ED, CBI to create a disturbance among the Opposition parties and harass or lure their leaders, to pursue its political interests. . Hence, the TRS has rejected the BJP’s Presidential candidate and extended support to the Opposition parties’ candidate Yashwant Sinha,” he said.