Hyderabad: On his return to active politics after losing power to Congress recently, BRS President and former Chief Minister K. Chandrasekhar Rao on Tuesday decided to launch a movement to protect Telangana’s rights over Krishna River water.
KCR, as Rao is popularly called, has worked out a strategy to corner the ruling party over handing over management of Srisailam and Nagarjunasagar irrigation projects to the Krishna River Management Board (KRMB).
Amid the ongoing war of words between Bharat Rashtra Samithi (BRS) and the Congress over irrigation projects, KCR held a meeting with BRS leaders from Krishna basin.
He also decided to hold a public meeting at Nalgonda on February 13.
KCR had discussions with party leaders at Telangana Bhavan, the BRS headquarters. He received a warm welcome by the party leaders on his first visit after three months.
The BRS chief told the party leaders that the decision of the new government to hand over management of the KRMB would damage the state’s interests. Even permission to maintain the reservoirs will have to be taken from the KRMB, he added.
Stating that the struggle for Telangana is not new for BRS, he asked the party leaders to gear for another movement to protect the state’s interests.
The BRS chief alleged that with its ill-advised approach the Congress government was jeopardising the state’s rights over irrigation and drinking water.
Dismissing the allegation of Chief Minister A. Revanth Reddy, KCR claimed that BRS government did not agree to surrender the projects. He asked BRS leaders to organise the meeting involving people from Nalgonda, Mahabubnagar, and Khammam districts and explain the damage the Congress government’s decision would cause to the state’s interests.
Later, addressing a news conference BRS leaders and former ministers S. Niranjan Reddy, Jagadish Reddy and others said that a public meeting will be held in Nalgonda town on February 13 to protect Telangana’s rights over Krishna waters.
They made it clear that their movement will continue till Telangana gets its due share in Krishna River waters.
Niranjan Reddy slammed the Congress government for agreeing to hand over the projects to the Centre without even consulting the opposition.
Demanding that the Congress government should apologise to the people of Telangana, the former minister said it should also take an all-party delegation to Delhi. The BRS leaders demanded that the Krishna Tribunal should pronounce its order in six months. They asked if the tribunal takes decades for allocation of water share, how will the state build the projects.
They claimed that despite blackmailing by the Centre, the KCR government did not agree to handover the projects, but the Congress surrendered the projects within two months of coming to power.
Recalling that the Telangana movement was for the water, they said if the Congress government comes forward to protect the state’s interests, the BRS would cooperate with it.
The BRS leaders said while BRS overcame electricity, drinking water and irrigation water shortage and gave assurance to farmers for the last 10 years, the Congress surrendered the state’s interests. They alleged that handing over Krishna projects to the Centre amounts to handing over to Andhra Pradesh and the Congress government here is doing what Andhra Pradesh wants.
“This is an issue of life and death of people of Telangana,” said Niranjan Reddy.
He stated that making public a temporary agreement entered a year ago reflects the state government’s ignorance and recalled that after this the state had gone to the Supreme Court. He termed as a lie the statement made by Union Jal Shakti Minister Gajendra Singh Shekhawat, and dared the Central minister and Chief Minister to make public any record which shows that KCR government had agreed to handover projects to the KRMB.
The BRS leader said the minutes of the meetings of October 22, 2020, and May 27, 2022, clearly show the state did not give its consent. The state did not agree even during the May 19, 2023, meeting. He alleged that the Centre is trying to help the state government and that the BRS will mount pressure on both the central and state governments at the Nalgonda meeting.