Telangana Finance Minister T Harish Rao said on Wednesday, November 22, that the BJP has no right to seek votes in Telangana Assembly elections after Union Finance Minister Niramala Sitharaman's admission that the Union government did not permit the state to go in for extra borrowings of 0.5% of gross state domestic product (GSDP) as the Telangana government did not fix meters to agriculture motors.
He said the Union Minister's statement has proved beyond doubt that for the BRS government in Telangana, the interests of farmers are more important than anything else. Harish Rao recalled that Chief Minister K Chandrashekar Rao on many occasions stated the state lost Rs 25,000 crore as it did not agree to the Union government’s rider that it fix meters to agriculture motors.
The CM had also declared in Assembly that he will die but will not fix meters as farmers will be deprived of free electricity.
State BJP leaders have been denying that the Union government laid down any such precondition for the state to go in for extra borrowings.
However, replying to a question during a press conference in Hyderabad on Tuesday, Sitharaman said that all the states fixed meters to agriculture motors and the Union government allowed them to raise additional loans.
"Telangana did not fix meters, how will it get permission for extra borrowing? Yet, the Telangana government is asking about extra loans. How can we exempt the state, which could not fulfil the conditions for raising extra borrowings, i.e., 0.5% of the GSDP," Sitharaman asked.
Addressing a news conference in Siddipet on Wednesday, Harish Rao asked with what face BJP leaders were seeking votes in Telangana.
He said Sitharaman's admission has also exposed the Congress as the states ruled by the party have also accepted the Union government’s rider.
The BRS leader said KCR was the only Chief Minister who refused to agree to fix motors to agriculture motors. He claimed that the decision was taken keeping in view the interests of 60 lakh farmers.
"That's why we have sacrificed Rs.25,000 crore," Harish Rao said.
He alleged that the Union government was hatching a conspiracy to do away with the free electricity supply to farmers.
Harish Rao alleged Congress-ruled Rajasthan, Himachal Pradesh and Karnataka have also agreed to fix meters to agriculture motors for the borrowings.
"If by any chance Congress comes to power in Telangana, it will fix the meters," he remarked.
He slammed Sitharaman for stating that Telangana has been pushed into a debt-trap.
He said under the BJP rule, the Union government has borrowed Rs 100 lakh crore. The state Finance Minister said Telangana's debts are only 28% of GSDP while the debts of BJP-ruled Union government are 57 % of GDP.
He mentioned that Telangana ranks sixth from bottom in the list of states with minimum debts.
Harish Rao blamed BJP for devaluation of rupee and the highest unemployment rate in the country. He said it was during BJP’s rule that the price of cooking gas cylinders has gone up from Rs 400 to Rs 1,200.
As Telangana, Mizoram, MP, Chhattisgarh, & Rajasthan go to the polls, TNM and Newslaundry are joining forces to bring you the best on-ground reportage and analysis. Click here to support our election fund.