Telangana Chief Minister K Chandrashekar Rao with Chief Ministers Arvind Kejriwal (Delhi), Bhagwant Mann (Punjab), Pinarayi Vijayan (Kerala), Samajwadi Party President Akhilesh Yadav, at the BRS (Bharat Rashtra Samithi) party's rally, in Khammam, Wednesday, Jan. 18, 2023 | Photo: PTI
Khammam (Telangana): A clarion call for regime change at the Centre by dislodging the BJP in 2024 Lok Sabha polls was sounded by prominent opposition leaders in the first mega rally of Telangana Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao-led Bharat Rashtra Samithi (BRS) here on Wednesday.
Taunting the Central government over a host of issues including those on interstate water and development issues, Rao in his address said Prime Minister Narendra Modi would go home following polls to Lok Sabha next year.
If a 'BRS proposed government' was to capture power, Centre's initiatives like the 'LIC disinvestment' and the Agnipath scheme for recruitment in Armed forces would be scrapped. Welfare measures in Telangana like the Rythu Bandhu for farmers would be implemented across the nation. Free power shall be provided to farmers, he said.
The colourful rally galvanised the BRS workers who shouted slogans hailing the party-led regime's welfare schemes in Telangana and peppy political songs praised Rao's 'national' emergence.
Rao said: "I am directly telling Prime Minister Narendra Modi ji. Your policy is privatisation. Our policy is nationalisation." He slammed the BJP and Congress alleging that both the parties are responsible for interstate water issues.
The rally saw the participation of an estimated 2 lakh people, according to a party leader and the big ticket event featured huge cut-outs, betting on KCR for a national resurgence against the Saffron party.
Samajwadi Party leader Akhilesh Yadav said Prime Minister Narendra Modi commented in his party's national executive meet that only 400 days are left for the 2024 LS election. The ruling BJP has started 'counting its days' and it would not last a day more in power after its present tenure, Yadav said.
The mega public meeting was the first after Telangana Rashtra Samithi recently rechristened itself as BRS. By bringing in several leaders in a show of strength against the Saffron party, the BRS has taken its first steps towards joining forces with like-minded parties at the national level. Also, it is expected to help BRS to take on the BJP within the State more strongly.
Aam Aadmi Party's Arvind Kejriwal, Samajwadi Party's Akhilesh Yadav, CPI's D Raja and Marxist party's top leader Pinarayi Vijayan were among the leaders who took part. At the national level, the contours of the political alignment backed by the BRS, is however, not clear.
A DMK insider who did not wish to be named told PTI: "The DMK leadership is clear that any third front being formed without the Congress party will only end up helping the BJP. Had the Congress party participated in this rally, certainly the DMK leadership would have considered being a part of this."
Addressing the rally, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal said: "Now, the country wants a change. People came to know that these people (NDA government) did not come to change the country. They just came to ruin the country. The 2024 elections are an opportunity for you (people). Ten years is over. How long will you wait?"
He asked people to usher in a regime that would think about the country, unemployment, healthcare and price rise. It is not the Governors of some States who are troubling the elected Chief Ministers, but Prime Minister Narendra Modi, indicating that they act on the behest of the PM, the AAP leader said.
Accusing the BJP-ruled Centre of 'undoing' the foundations of the nation's democracy, Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan called for a 'new resistance' to protect secularism, democracy and the Constitution. People should unite against the communal agenda that seeks to divide the country.
"I hope that today, in Khammam, the land of people's resistances, we will have the beginning of a new resistance, a resistance to secure the ideals that we fought for in our freedom struggle. A resistance to protect our secularism, our democracy, our Constitution and thereby our nation," he said.
By allowing the concentration of wealth through consistent appeasement of corporates, they go against the concept of socialism and by seeking to replace parliamentary democracy with presidential form of governance, they go against the concept of democracy, Vijayan said.
Yadav said that the ruling BJP has been pushing the nation behind and it is time for all progressive leaders to come together and work for the country's development. "BJP will be out of power after 399 days and a new government will be in place on the 400th day," he said. Punjab Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann said the country wanted jobs and the youth are jobless.
CPI General Secretary D Raja appealed to secular, democratic parties to understand the 'emerging' threat. "We will have to fight against the BJP-RSS combine and will have to defeat them in the forthcoming 2024 election."