Telangana Chief Minister K. Chandrashekar Rao loses his cool at public meeting, stokes another controversy

Published : February 12, 2021 17:36 IST

K. Chandrashekar Rao, Chief Minister of Telangana. A file picture. Photo: Mohammed Yousuf

Telangana Chief Minister K. Chandrashekar Rao is no stranger to controversy. In the latest episode to explode at his doorstep, the political opposition has accused the Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) leader of comparing a group of protesters at one of his public events to “dogs”.

Addressing a public gathering on February 10 at Haliya, Nalgonda district, after laying the foundation stone for a government-funded scheme, Chandrasekhar Rao lost his cool when a group of Dalit activists, including women, allegedly disturbed him by showing some papers which they wanted to give as a representation to him, and started protesting when they were not allowed to do so. He ordered the police to take them out. But not before uttering in annoyance: “Police... take them out. Take the papers… whatever they want to give.... They are just a handful of people…. Now that you have given the memo, leave from here. If you want to stay, please remain calm. No one will be distributed by your stupid acts; you will be beaten up unnecessarily. We have seen many people amma, there are a lot of dogs like you. Leave from here.” The Chief Minister also warned the activists that they were testing his patience and it too had a limit. “If you cross the limits, we know what to do. We will trample over you,” he had said.

Sources close to Chandrasekhar Rao said the Chief Minister was not aware who the people behind the ruckus were and had assumed that they had been propped up by the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). It later transpired that the Dalit activists were demonstrating and raising slogans demanding that action be taken against the TRS’ Parkal legislator Challa Dharma Reddy who stoked a controversy at a meeting in Warangal with his comments against the marginalised castes. Dharma Reddy had said that Telangana was being ruined because of a lack of merit among government employees from the marginalised castes, and that people from the “upper castes” were not securing jobs while “others” without merit were getting positions.

Chandrasekhar Rao’s utterances were gleefully latched on to by both the Congress and the BJP. Leaders from both parties demanded that the Chief Minister apologise forthwith.

Responding to the incident, the All India Congress Committee in-charge for Telangana, Manickam Tagore, sought an apology from Rao. “Telangana C.M. calls women at Nagarjuna Sagar public meeting as Dogs. Don’t forget all those women standing there are the reason you sit in that position. Change your words to reflect your attitude. Don’t forget this is a democracy. Don’t forget they are our bosses! Apologise Chandrasekar,” he tweeted.

The BJP’s chief spokesperson for Telangana, K. Krishna Saagar Rao, said that Chandrasekhar Rao comments were an “insult to Hindus” and that he must apology immediately for the same.

At the same public meeting, the Chief Minister had also trained his guns at the Congress and the BJP. Warning the BJP leaders to be wary of what they speak or face the consequences, he said that they were like “new beggars who did not know when to go for begging”. He termed BJP leaders rakshasalu (demons) and bokasulu (a slang for rakshasalu). In the same vein, he called Congress leaders vultures for preying on farmers, while objecting to Congress Legislature Party leader Mallu Bhatti Vikramarka visiting farms in the State. “We [TRS] are giving rythu bandhu to farmers but you have become a rythu rabandulu [vulture],” he said.

Sources told Frontline that the 10 Dalit Shakti activists who had allegedly disturbed the Chief Minister’s public rally had been picked up by the police on February 11 and slapped with cases. The police allegedly let the activists go after seizing their mobile phones and ordering them to be present before them whenever summoned. The police were noncommittal under what sections of the Indian Penal Code the cases were booked. However, on condition of anonymity a police constable said that Section 341 of the IPC (restraining wrongfully) had been slapped against the activists. The police are worried that it could turn out to be a political hot potato because it involves Dalits. Curiously, the FIR has not been made public either.