Congress leader Rahul Gandhi proposed a new poll challenge to Telangana Chief Minister and Bharat Rashtra Samithi chief K Chandrashekar Rao. Questioning his silence on the caste census issue, he said his party will get the survey done if it comes to power in the state.
“We have already started caste census in Chhattisgarh, Rajasthan and Karnataka and will do the same in Telangana once we come to power. The caste census will show how much KCR’s family has looted Telangana,” Mr Gandhi said while delivering a speech. road show at Bhupalpally in Telangana.
The Congress leader alleged that the BRS and the Asaduddin Owaisi-led AIMIM are collaborating with the BJP and launching a joint attack on the Congress.
“When Prime Minister (Narendra) Modi and Chief Minister KCR make speeches, the people of Telangana should question them about when they plan to conduct the caste census survey,” he said.
The BJP, he alleged, is filing cases against opposition parties to silence them, but there are no cases against KCR. “The absence of CBI and ED cases against Chief Minister KCR raises questions.”
Launching a dynasty attack on the BRS, he said the people of Telangana, who got statehood in 2014, had dreamed of a state where the common man would rule. “But for the last 10 years, your Chief Minister KCR has distanced himself from the people and only his family is ruling the state. He shattered your dream,” he said.
According to Gandhi, the caste census is the most pressing issue in the country. “It is like an x-ray that reveals the percentage of backward classes, SC, ST and minorities, thereby allowing fair allocation of the budget.”
Stating that it was a Congress-led government that fulfilled the state’s promise to Telangana, he said, “My relationship with the people of Telangana is one of love and affection. While KCR and Modi come to Telangana for a political relationship with you, my connection with you is based on love and affection.”
Telangana, he claimed, has the highest corruption in India and this is adversely affecting the youth and women of Telangana.
Waving to the people who had gathered on the terraces and along the road during the Congress march, he said, “Going by your enthusiasm, it seems likely that KCR will lose this election.”
The issue of caste census has become a topic of heated debate between the BRS and Congress in the run-up to the elections.
Earlier, KCR’s daughter and Legislative Council member K Kavitha had questioned why the Congress did not conduct a caste survey in the 60 years it ruled the country. “This Congress leader started talking about census of the population of the backward classes. When they were in power for 60 years, they did not do that. Now he says he will do something,” she said in Nizamabad last week, news agency PTI has reported.
Incidentally, the KCR government had ordered a caste survey in the state in 2014, soon after it came to power. Although the results of the Samagra Kutumba Survey have not been made public due to lawsuits challenging it, the state government says it has used the data for policy changes.
The BRS, Ms Kavitha said, had conducted the survey and the results enabled it to effectively provide social services to all communities. She said Gandhi is only making statements before elections, unlike KCR, who is prioritizing the welfare of backward classes.