Former Health Minister Eatala Rajender, one of the founding members of the Telangana Rashtra Samithi, quit the party and resigned as MLA on Friday, June 4. Eatala, who is the legislator of Huzurabad and a popular face of the Backward Class community, will likely join the BJP on June 7, according to reports. The former Minister was accused of land encroachment on May 1, and subsequently dropped from the Telangana cabinet.
The decision to quit the party came after a meeting with the BJP National President JP Nadda earlier this week. Before serving as the Health Minister in 2019, he held the portfolio of the Finance Ministry. While announcing his decision to quit the TRS, Eatala alleged that there was no internal democracy or respect for the members in the party. He also revealed that his differences with Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao, did not crop up now, but five years ago itself. “The difference between me and KCR did not crop up today, but five years ago itself. These humiliations were not limited to myself alone, even Harish Rao faced that discrimination,” he alleged. Harish Rao is the Finance Minister and nephew of KCR.
Lashing out at KCR for stifling protests and curbing the rights of the welfare associations who were key in the Telangana statehood movement, Eatala said, “Back then KCR believed in people, but today he believes in money, dogs and repression. I have faith in the people of Telangana that they will question KCR's repression. The people of Telangana will bear the suffering of starvation but will not sacrifice self-respect.”
Citing an instance of KCR not respecting the party’s elected representatives, he alleged, “When there was a problem in our district, as a Minister I and all our nine MLAs went to speak with the Chief Minister, but we were denied a chance to meet him. To save our faces, we pretended to have met him and returned. Later, on the same issue we fixed an appointment and went to meet him, but were given the same treatment then too. We were treated worse than slaves.”
He alleged that KCR is extremely insecure and does not allow others to take the limelight. “When I was the Finance Minister, some employees had come to meet me and give their representation. The next day that photo appeared in the newspapers. And he asked me why I met them.” Eatala claimed that he had questioned the Chief Minister about his autocratic style of functioning. “I told him to change the name from Pragathi Bhavan (the Chief Minister’s office cum residence) to Slaves’ residence,” he said.
Alleging that KCR turned his back on the people with whose help Telangana statehood was achieved, he questioned KCR’s promise of appointing a Dalit as the first Chief Minister. “Is there any Dalit, Scheduled Tribe, or Backward Class community officer in the Chief Minister’s Office? During the statehood movement, we had said that Telangana is the state of weaker sections but did you live up to it?” he questioned.
Eatala alleged that the Chief Minister is only working against the workers’ unions and to stifle protests in the state, like the 2019 TSRTC strike which went on for nearly two months. At the time TSRTC workers were demanding the merger of the corporation with the government,.
“When the TSRTC was on a strike for two months without trying to resolve the issue, you forced them to beg and cry. Several of them died. They asked for your help and forgiveness but the Chief Minister issued a statement that even lord Brahma can't save them. As long as the statehood movement was there, we required their help but after coming to power, he decided that there should be no TSRTC.”
Eatala also accused the Chief Minister of dethroning the leaders of coal workers and the TSRTC who were part of the statehood agitation and replacing them with his daughter K Kavitha.