Hyderabad: Telangana Chief Minister K. Chandrasekhar Rao on Sunday sounded the poll bugle, appealing to the people of the state not to become slaves of national parties and urged them to emulate Tamil Nadu for their self-respect.
The Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) chief gave the call at a massive public meeting held here amid talks of early polls to the state Assembly which completes its term in May 2019. TRS has hinted that it may go for early polls to delink them from the Lok Sabha elections.
Promising to take Telangana forward on the path of development, Rao sought continued support of the people so that the TRS can take various works launched by it to their logical conclusion.
"You have to decide whether decisions relating to Telangana should be taken by us here or should we become slaves of Delhi parties," he said in an obvious reference to the Congress and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).
Hinting that the TRS will contest the coming polls on the plank of self-respect, he advised Telangana people to emulate Tamil Nadu, which has its own parties and where people never allow Delhi parties to take their decisions.
Lakhs of people were mobilized from across the state for the meeting christened "Pragathi Nivedana' (Progress report).
TRS leaders claimed that 25 lakh people attended the meeting held at Kongara Kalan on the city outskirts.
KCR, as Rao is popularly known, made no announcement about dissolution of the Assembly to go for early polls.
He said the ministers and party leaders have authorized him to take a decision which is in the best interest of Telangana. "In the coming days you will hear that decision."
He announced the formation of a manifesto committee, headed by party General Secretary K. Keshava Rao. The panel will come out with what TRS plans to do if voted to power again.
Seeking a fresh mandate, KCR promised to make "Bangaru" or golden Telangana a reality. Stating that works on many irrigation projects were on, he said the goal of bringing one crore acres under irrigation would be achieved in two years.
KCR vowed to further increase the revenues of the state and distribute the fruits of economic development among people. He promised to do more for the welfare of various sections of people by increasing the social security pensions and providing jobs to the unemployed.
The TRS chief recalled his announcement that he would not seek votes in the next elections if he failed to ensure tapped drinking water to every house in the state.
Claiming that no other politician in the country ever made such a commitment, KCR said 45 per cent of "Mission Bhagiratha" was already completed and the remaining work will be completed by Diwali.
He lashed out at leaders of the opposition parties for stating that their goal is to oust KCR from power.
He accused them of creating hurdles in the path of development by filing court cases over irrigation projects.
KCR recalled the long struggle for Telangana state and referred to the injustices meted out to people in unified Andhra Pradesh.
He said after creation of Telangana state, when the TRS government began its journey, there was uncertainty over the financial position of the new state.
He claimed that during the last four years Telangana had consistently recorded highest growth rate in the country.
He claimed that the TRS government acted with commitment to increase the state's revenues and used the same to provide benefits to all sections of people.
KCR said overcoming the electricity shortage and ensuring 24-hour free electricity to farmers was one of the major achievements.
He said the state was on course to becoming electricity-surplus.
He listed out measures taken for the welfare of farmers including loan waiver, investment support of Rs 8,000 per acre for two crops every year, life insurance for farmers, revival of old irrigation tanks, pensions to various sections of people, financial assistance to poor girls for their marriages, distribution of sheep for rearing and help to various castes engaged in traditional professions.