TRS MPs, Ministers and leaders protest against the Centre’s decision to discontinue procurement of parboiled rice grown in Telangana

Published : November 12, 2021 15:21 IST

TRS MLAs and party workers protesting at Dharna Chowk, Hyderabad, on November 12. Photo: PTI

Heeding a call given by Telangana Chief Minister K. Chandrashekar Rao, Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) legislators, Members of Parliament, party leaders and over 300,000 people sat in a dharna in their respective constituencies and districts for three hours on November 12 protesting the Centre’s decision to discontinue the procurement of parboiled rice grown in Telangana during the Rabi season. The protests were led by K.T. Rama Rao, the Chief Minister’s son and TRS working president, in his constituency of Siricilla.

Other Cabinet colleagues of the Chief Minister including T. Harish Rao, Puvvada Ajay Kumar, A. Indrakaran Reddy, Errabelli Dayakar Rao, Vemula Prashanth Reddy, S. Niranjan Reddy held protests in their respective constituencies/district headquarters. In the State’s capital Hyderabad, protests were held at Dharna Chowk by Ministers Mohamad Mahmood Ali and Talasani Srinivas Yadav and other TRS leaders.

Flaying the Food Corporation of India’s (FCI’s) decision to discontinue the procurement of parboiled rice grown in Telangana during the Rabi season and criticising the Union government for its paddy procurement policy, TRS leaders echoed the Chief Minister’s demand that the Centre purchase the entire paddy yield from Telangana. Gangula Kamalakar, the State’s Civil Supplies Minister, has been demanding that the Union government buy the “yasangi” (summer harvest/Rabi) season paddy crop in Telangana.

The paddy procurement imbroglio has led to a nasty war of words between the TRS and the BJP. Chief Minister Chandrashekar Rao accused the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) of doublespeak and playing politics to gain votes. He said that while the Union government has been refusing to purchase paddy produced in Telangana and directing the State government to encourage farmers to cultivate alternative crops, BJP State leaders had been asking the State’s farmers to cultivate paddy and assuring them that they would force the Telangana government to purchase the entire produce.

Warned the Chief Minister: “TRS is the largest party with the highest number of representatives in the State. So far we have tolerated your comments as [a] dog barking. Henceforth, if you indulge in loose talk, utter nonsensical words, we will take legal action against you and question you on roads."

The escalation in the war of words has come on the heels of the BJP wresting the Huzurabad Assembly constituency, a TRS bastion, in the October 30 byelections. A byelection had to be called after the defection of Eatala Rajender, a one-time confidante of Chandrashekar Rao. When he was sacked as a Minister, Rajender resigned from the TRS, defected to the BJP and won the seat in a bitterly contested election. Rajender secured 1,06,780 votes and defeated the TRS’ Gellu Srinivas Yadav by a margin of 24,068 votes.