Eatela Rajender, former Health Minister of Telangana, quits Assembly and Telangana Rashtra Samithi, likely to join BJP

Published : June 04, 2021 21:29 IST

Eatela Rajender addressing the media in Hyderabad on June 04. Photo: NAGARA GOPAL

Former Health Minister Eatela Rajender, on June 4, resigned from the Telangana Legislative Assembly and from the Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS), the party he was closely associated with for 19 years. The six-time legislator is an influential backward class leader in the politically volatile north Telangana. There is, however, no threat to the government since the ruling party has 102 seats in the 119-seat Assembly.

Rajender, who represented Huzurabad constituency, is expected to join the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) soon. On May 31 he met BJP national president J.P Nadda at his residence in New Delhi. Accompanying Rajender were G. Vivek, a former Member of Parliament, and Enugu Ravinder Reddy, former legislator and a loyalist. Also present at the New Delhi meeting were BJP’s Telangana State in-charge Tarun Chugh and State president Bandi Sanjay Kumar.

As Health Minister he had piloted the State through the first wave of the COVID-19 pandemic. He was unceremoniously sacked from the Cabinet by Chief Minister K. Chandrashekar Rao on May 2 following allegations of encroachment of assigned and temple land by a firm owned by Rajender’s family members. The Chief Minister ordered an inquiry by multiple agencies into the allegations before he sacked Rajender at the height of the second wave of the pandemic.

Rajender denied the charges and his family moved the High Court and obtained temporary relief on the government-ordered inquiries. Speaking to Frontline, Rajender accused Chandrashekar Rao of foisting and engineering “fake cases” to finish him off politically. Said Rajender: “Before taking any action on the allegations, the Chief Minister, without asking for any clarification, removed me from the Cabinet. Even a person convicted to hang, is asked his last wish. But KCR did not even ask for my clarifications before removing me from the Cabinet. He has forgotten that I was with him for 19 years. I was district president when he was a Member of Parliament.”

He admitted to differences between him and the party leadership for almost five years and said that as Minister he had faced humiliation. According to Rajender, all the Ministers and party legislators in Telangana “were treated as slaves of the Chief Minister”. “A ministerial post is not greater than self-respect. The review meeting of the finance department was held without the Finance Minister and the health department review meeting without the Minister concerned,” he said.

He emphasised that he had never crossed the party’s ‘Lakshman Rekha’ and said that he had only had reservations over the government extending the Rythu Bandhu scheme to big landlords. Said the former Minister: “KCR claims he is a ‘dictator’, but in a democratic country there is no place for a dictator.”

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