Hyderabad: The first dharna of K Chandrashekar Rao in his capacity as Chief Minister, at Dharna Chowk on Thursday, has given a much-needed boost to the morale of TRS leaders and cadre. This was also the first dharna of Rao after the formation of Telangana State in June 2014. The target: the BJP and the Modi government.
The CM arrived at the venue exactly at 11 am and left the spot at 2 pm after sitting through a three-hour dharna.
The morale of the ruling TRS party’s rank and file had taken a hit due to the shocking defeat for the party candidate in the recent Huzurabad bypoll at the hands of BJP's Etala Rajender. A shocked party chief had planned to hold a huge public meeting in Warangal on November 15 to swiftly recover lost ground, but postponed it to November 29 to mark Telangana Deeksha Diwas.
The party later postponed the November 29 meeting due to the Election Commission's code of conduct for MLC polls, effective until December 10. Against this backdrop, the party held the massive dharna in Hyderabad, led by the CM.
The CM sat on a huge dais, flanked by his cabinet ministers, TRS MLAs, MLCs and MPs who displayed placards against the BJP and highlighting their demands on paddy procurement – the new issue that the TRS is taking up to put the BJP and its central government on the defensive.
While finance minister Harish Rao and MLC Kavitha were seated on the dais, party working president and IT minister Rama Rao sat among the people, away from the dais, in what looked like a show of modesty.
The dharna started with the CM's opening remarks, in which he explained to the people how the BJP-led government at the Centre ignored Telangana’s repeated requests for paddy procurement. The dharna ended with the CM addressing the gathering, for a second time, for 30 minutes.
In between, the CM gave opportunities for a few party leaders to address the meeting and folk singers sang songs, teasing BJP national and state leaders.
Ministers Niranjan Reddy, Jagadish Reddy, MLAs Sandra Veeraiah, Gongidi Sunitha, former deputy CM Kadiyam Srihari, MLC Palla Rajeshwar and Rajya Sabha member Keshava Rao addressed the dharna as advised by the CM. The dharna saw participation of farmers from all the districts.
Telangana folk songs sung by professional singers took repeated digs at Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his unfulfilled poll promises. These were well-received by the participants who responded in a chorus.