Telangana Chief Minister K Chandrashekar Rao on Tuesday dismissed allegations that he was secretly friends with Prime Minister Narendra Modi for the last five years, and said he was the first person to call Modi a fascist, The New Indian Express reported.
“I was the first person to call Narendra Modi a fascist after the Centre transferred seven mandals from Telangana to Andhra Pradesh immediately after the bifurcation of the state in 2014,” KCR, as the chief minister is popularly called, said at his official residence in Pragati Bhavan.
KCR, along with West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, have decided to not attend an all-party meeting called by Modi on Wednesday to discuss the idea of holding simultaneous Assembly and Lok Sabha elections, among other matters. His son and working president of the Telangana Rashtra Samithi – KT Rama Rao – is deputed to attend the meeting.
The party said KCR is busy preparing for the inauguration of the government’s flagship project – Kaleshwaram Lift Irrigation Scheme – on June 21. When asked why Modi was not invited for the inauguration, KCR said, “There is no need for inviting him for everything. I have invited him for laying the foundation stone for Mission Bhagiratha. As far as Kaleshwaram project is concerned, I am the achiever and I will be inaugurating it on June 21. The chief ministers of AP [Andhra Pradesh] and Maharashtra would attend as chief guests.”
KCR said the Centre did not spend “even one rupee” for the project. “We have funded the project entirely,” he added. KCR claimed the project will be the world’s largest multi-stage lift irrigation scheme. The project would utilise water from the Godavari, which flows through Maharashtra, Telangana and Andhra Pradesh. “For Mission Bhagiratha, the NITI Aayog had recommended that the Centre release Rs 24,000 crore to Telangana but the state received nothing,” KCR was quoted as saying.
KCR had not attended the prime minister’s swearing-in ceremony on May 30 or the NITI Aayog meet last week in Delhi either. “We have our own priorities in the state,” he was quoted as saying by The New Indian Express. “It is time for the grand inauguration of Kaleshwaram and I had to review arrangements for it since two chief ministers are going to attend the ceremony. I did not have time.”
He also reiterated that he was committed to pushing forward his concept of a federal front (of anti-Congress and anti-BJP parties) but will also maintain the “constitutional relations” with the Centre. “I have not forsaken [the] Federal Front,” he said. “I am with it. I am not overly enamoured by the BJP or Narendra Modi.”
Asserting that he never supported Modi, KCR said: “If we had supported Ram Nath Kovind when he stood for election for the office of the president of India, it was because we had adopted a policy of extending support to the Centre basing on issues and Kovind’s election appeared appropriate to us.”