With barely three days to go for the campaigning to end for the Telangana Assembly polls, major contenders for power are engaged in a no-holds-barred attack on each other.
Leading the campaign of ruling Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS), its President K. Chandrashekhar Rao has termed Prime Minister Narendra Modi a ‘liar’ and Congress President Rahul Gandhi a ‘joker’.
Congress-led People’s Front and Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leaders are returning the favour in the same coin, branding KCR and his family members as ‘thieves’ and ‘looters’ of the newly created state.
KCR is known for using choicest words in Telugu with Telangana accent to run down his rivals. Popular for his oratory skills, he often lands himself in controversies through bitter verbal attacks.
If KCR and president of Congress party’s state unit Uttam Kumar Reddy were locked in a verbal duel for last several weeks, the exchange of words intensified in recent days with the national leaders of the Congress and BJP joining the campaign.
“Is the country your father’s jagir (fief),” thundered KCR at an election rally last week targeting Modi over not allowing the state to increase reservation for Muslims to 12 percent. At another rally, he remarked that Modi has ‘Hindu Muslim disease’.
The TRS chief was further angered by Modi’s attack on his beliefs. The Prime Minister had poked fun at KCR for relying on astrologers, ‘pooja path’ and ‘nimbu mirchi’. KCR described Modi as ‘liar’ when the latter made sarcastic remark on TRS leader’s promise to transform Nizamabad town into London.
Modi, BJP President Amit Shah, Congress chief Rahul Gandhi and other leaders are all hitting out at KCR for his family rule. They all have a common point – only KCR, his son, daughter and two nephews benefited from TRS rule.
Going a step ahead, Congress leader and Punjab minister Navjot Singh Sidhu termed KCR and his family as ‘Ali Baba Aur 4 Chor’.
Rahul Gandhi termed KCR as ‘Khao Commission Rao’, alleging that he received kickbacks in irrigation and other projects.
Hitting out at what they call the autocratic rule of KCR and drawing a parallel between him and KCR, both Rahul Gandhi and Telugu Desam Party (TDP) chief N. Chandrababu Naidu described the TRS leader as ‘Chota Modi’.
Like in 2014, the TRS is harping on the slogan of Telangana pride to woo the voters. “Will you allow yourselves to become slaves of Delhi?” KCR asks people at his rallies taking potshots at the Congress and BJP.
As the TDP is contesting the polls in alliance with Congress, the TRS made Telangana self-respect the core of its campaign.
The ruling party alleged that by being part of a coalition government in Telangana, Naidu is looking to harm Telagana. “Do you want your decisions to be taken in Amaravati?” asks KCR, referring to the Andhra Pradesh capital.
At one rally, KCR remarked that even if his party was defeated in elections. he would not lose anything. “I will take rest at my farm house,” he said.
“He was anyway not coming to the Secretariat and meeting people. He was taking rest at the posh Pragati Bhavan he built for himself. It is better if he takes rest at farm house instead of at Pragati Bhavan,” taunted Telangana Jana Samithi leader M. Kodandaram, a one-time friend of KCR during the Telangana movement and now a part of People’s Front.