2 years down, KCR's honeymoon is over. Here are 5 challenges he faces
The TRS government in Telangana led by K Chandrashekar Rao has recently completed two years in office. And its honeymoon period is all but over.
Fissures are emerging within the party and people's movements against the KCR administration are slowly gathering momentum. What is also going against the government is the absence of any tangible achievement that it can showcase to the people.
On the other hand, TRS has been admitting everyone into the party. Even some of the most bitter critics of KCR, mostly from the Telugu Desam Party, have found berths in his Cabinet. Will KCR be able to stem the rot?
Here are five main issues the government is facing.
1. Trouble at ground zero of Telangana movement
TRS captured power in 2014 riding on the movement for a separate Telangana state. For the past two years, the party has enjoyed absolute power. But this is beginning to change. Slogans such as " we made the sacrifices but you got the fruits of Golden Telangana" were seen on the walls along the arterial roads of Hyderabad.
Even the roads leading to the TRS headquarters office in Banjara Hills had similar slogans.This was part of the campaign for the Telangana Jana Jaatara Sabha, organised by Osmania University Joint Action Committee (OUJAC) on 2 June, the formation day of the state. KCR's bitterest critic from the Telugu Desam Party - A Revanth Reddy - was invited to speak at the anti-government meeting. He received enormous support from students at the Osmania University campus, the temporal headquarters for the Telangana agitation between 2009-13. This has worried the KCR government.
There was high drama in the build-up to the meeting. The fact that the government denied permission for the meeting shows how wary it is of the brewing discontent against it.
Revanth Reddy, whose entry was sought to be blocked, sneaked into the campus on a motorcycle, blinding the hawk's eye of the police. He packed punches in an acerbic speech against the KCR administration, amidst cheers by students. Reddy's 40-minute-long tirade against KCR and the suggestion that students would "revolt" against the government should be taken as a serious warning.
2. Former ideologue has become a threat
Prof Kodandaram, who had become an ideologue of the TRS in his role as Chairman of Political Joint Action Commission (JAC), has been sidelined by KCR ever since statehood was achieved.
Kodanadaram, whose left leanings are well known, had choreographed the 'million march' and the mammoth 'Sagara haaram'protest in the heart of Hyderabad, during the agitation. KCR shared the dais with Kodanadaram and held confabulations so many times that it seemed the duo would be inseparable forever. But power ignited the differences.
On his part, Kodanadaram has filed a public interest litigation in the Hyderabad High Court on farmers' suicides, which has embarrassed the government. As he is becoming a rallying point for anti-TRS voices, the powers that be are slowly growing jittery. When Kodandaram critically evaluated two-years of TRS rule and blurted out that it should step down if it could not perform, TRS ministers raised a lot of hue and cry.
He has taken up demands like re-opening industries like Hindustan Cables Ltd, approaching National Green Tribunal on opencast coal mines and conducting a seminar in Osmania University on problems confronting universities.
He has said the JAC has never died down and will continue to espouse popular causes and fight the government.
3. Trouble at home
Serious trouble is brewing in KCR's home constituency Gajwel, against land acquisition for an irrigation project, Mallanna Sagar. The project is expected to displace people living in six villages, spread over an area of over 22,000 acres. The project, aimed at irrigating 12 lakh acres in Medak, Nalgonda and Nizamabad districts, is estimated to cost Rs 10,000 crore and 50 tmc feet of water could be stored in the reservoir. However, the compensation package worked out by the state government for the people being displaced, isn't acceptable to the latter. An agitation is brewing. People are cooking food on the road as a mark of protest. Is KCR getting paid back on the same coin?
The government issued an order assuring a compensation of Rs 8 lakh per acre, much more than what is allocated under the Land Acquisition Act 2013. At least, this is what Irrigation Minister and KCR's nephew T Harish Rao contends.
But the villagers are not ready to vacate the place and leave. However, activists led by Prof Kodanadaram and others are planning to organise a seminar at Gajwel and chart out an action plan. The Land Acquisition Act as well as the government order will be discussed.
4. Hyderabad blues
Hyderabad hasn't seen any tangible development in the last two years. On the contrary, the chief minister's interference caused delay in the implementation and commissioning of the Hyderabad Metro Rail Project. This delay escalated the cost of the project by several hundreds of crores.
Secondly, the untimely rains during the summer thoroughly exposed the laxity in disaster-preparedness on the part of the authorities. The recent collapse of a colossal uni-pole smashing eight cars in the upmarket Jubilee Hills main road raised serious questions on the need for huge hoardings.
The Strategic Road Development Project (SRDP), conceived by the TRS regime, has run into rough weather. This is not only because of the paucity of funds for the massive project estimated to cost over Rs 20,000 crore, but also because of the intention of the state government to fell several hundreds of trees for the construction of flyovers and skywalks. This has sparked protests from the residents of the city and the National Green Tribunal stayed the work and issued notices to the state to explain its stand.
5. Discord with the Centre
The TRS government doesn't have cordial political relations with the BJP-led NDA government at the Centre. This has harmed the interests of the state.
Telangana's stand on water-sharing hasn't cut ice with the Krishna River Management Board and Godavari River Management Board (GRMB).
The Centre isn't extending much help to the state financially and otherwise. The BJP wants to stymie the growth of the TRS politically. But its rank and file and leadership in Telangana can't even match the crippled Congress, leave alone countering the mighty TRS.
Therefore, the BJP wants to arm-twist the TRS regime and debilitate it for its own political gains. This has put severe constraints on KCR.
No new project has come to the State in the last two years. Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who visited USA five times so far, hasn't cared for visiting any part of Telangana, including Hyderabad.