On December 6, Telangana Chief Minister K Chandrashekar Rao had issued a statement, throwing his weight behind the farmers that are protesting against the three Central farm laws.
He had asserted that the agitation should continue till the anti-farmer laws were withdrawn. His party took part in the nationwide bandh called by the agitating farmers on December 8.
KCR’s stand was widely seen as a confrontation with the BJP, which had upset Telangana Rashtra Samithi’s dream run by making significant gains in the Hyderabad civic polls. A setback in Hyderabad and the sudden rise of the BJP had jolted the the TRS as the city is home to one-fourth of the State’s 2.8 crore voters. It could, well, be a reflection of headwinds that the ruling party is facing.
What happened in the next few days, has left political parties and observers baffled. A few days after the bandh, he went to Delhi and met Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Home Minister Amit Shah.
The tone and tenor of his statements post his return didn’t reflect his aggressive posture that he showed before his visit to Delhi. Not only that, in what is seen as an indirect support to the agriculture reform laws, the State announced that it would not go in for local procurement of agricultural produce from the next season.
A review meeting chaired by the Chief Minister after his Delhi visit had felt that there was no need for procurement by the government as the new Farm Laws allowed farmers to sell their produce anywhere in the country.
The government also shelved the Regulated Cropping System, a brainchild of KCR, after just two seasons. Mounting pressure on the government to procure the fine variety paddy at a higher price per quintal, which was grown extensively on the State’s advice, was stated to be the key reason.
After refusing to join the Centre’s Ayushman Bharat scheme for two years, the KCR government announced that it would ‘dovetail’ its Arogyasri scheme with the Centre’s scheme. The government offered no explanation for the change in its stance.
After facing criticism from the public and Opposition, the government had eased the LRS (Land Regulation Scheme) norms to resume registrations. The registration process has come to virtual stand still in the State as the government tried to impose LRS and a new Web-based registration system in a bid to revamp the Revenue system.
This created a State-wide uproar as the moves hindered people’s plans to sell or buy lands.
KCR made two more announcements after his return from Delhi. While announcing the decision to fill up about 50,000 vacancies in various departments, he said the government would implement the Pay Revision Commission (PRC) report and increase the retirement age.
The speed at which he is taking the decisions has led to widespread speculation that he might have dropped the idea of taking a belligerent stand against the BJP. Speculation is also ripe that KCR might pass on the baton to his son KT Rama Rao so that he can focus on strengthening the party.
A political observer felt that it is too early to say that he is going to make friends with the BJP. Sitting pretty comfortable with 102 out of the total 119 legislators in the House, he has nearly three years for a course correction to make amends to some of the unpopular decisions.