Rama Krishna Sangem
Telangana’s Congress government will follow cordial relations with the BJP ruled Centre. This is the first impression we got after the first ever meeting of Chief Minister A Revanth Reddy along his deputy Mallu Bhatti Vikramarka with Prime Minister Nanrendra Modi at latter’s residence in New Delhi in the evening of December 26, Tuesday. Sources from the CM said, the meting was friendly and cool.
Dy CM Mallu holds finance portfolio. The meeting lasted for about 30 minutes. Modi is understood to have greeted both Revanth and Bhatti for winning the assembly elections. Revanth, on his part is thanked and offered a shawl and a bouquet of flowers to the PM. A detailed memorandum that included the assurances given to Telangana at the time of AP bifurcation was presented by Revanth to the PM.
The CM’s officials have prepared elaborate reports on the requirements of Telangana, both in terms of financial as well as legislative matters. These reports are based the recent White Papers related by the State government on financial conditions and the debts burden of the energy sector. The government mentioned that Telangana was steeped in a total debt of around Rs 6.71 lakh crore. The energy sector is mired in a debt of around Rs 85,000 crore.
What underscores the importance of this meeting is near zero coordination between former CM KCR and PM Modi for the last two and a half years. KCR not just stopped meeting the PM since his second term, but also none of senior ministers of previous BRS regime had shown any initiative to seek the help of the Centre. That period at the best can be described as confrontational or accusatory in nature.
Sources close to CM Revanth told Excel India that the CM wants to maintain cordial relations with the Centre, more so with PM Modi. If the PM is soft towards state, all other central ministers too would be positive to its demands or requests. At present, Congress government in Telangana badly needs central help of around Rs 40,000 crore; that is expected from the Centre in the current budget year. KCR had attacked the Centre for ignoring Telangana’s needs.
Revanth seeks SOS help from Centre
Now CM Revanth’s demands for financial bail out are of SOS nature. Unless the Centre releases some amount of help or grants, the Congress government is not in a position to implement its Six Guarantees, that propelled its electoral victory in November 30 assembly elections. The government has announced a time line for taking applications from public for its guarantees, from December 28 to January 6.
Lakhs of people are expected to apply for the welfare sops that form part of the six guarantees. The CM and other ministers already said they would roll out these schemes within 100 days of its government, that falls around mid March 2024. To implement them, the government needs funds, otherwise, the opposition BRS would make it an electoral issue in the ensuring Lok Sabha polls, in April.
This is a tricky situation. CM Revanth knows well that he cannot afford to adopt an anti-Centre stand and keep criticizing the PM for ignoring his demands. The best possible way is to coordinate well with the Centre by maintaining good relations with the PM. It’s long since PM Modi came to Telangana to participate in a developmental or welfare programme. Now, we may see that level of coordination between the CM and the PM.
Revanth will have to brief the Congress high command about his strategy to maintain good ties with the PM and the Centre in the coming period. This is essential for two reasons: One, to implement the six guarantees given to people, Two, to take up all pending projects and new demands that would arise in the coming days. Blind anti-Centre approach will only harm the Revanth government, said sources.