No anti-incumbency, BRS seeking third term due to people's expectations: Telangana FM Harish Rao

No anti-incumbency, BRS seeking third term due to people's expectations: Telangana FM Harish Rao

Siddipet (Telangana), Nov 20 (PTI) The ruling BRS is seeking a third term in the state as people's expectations have risen further after seeing the party-led government's performance in the last ten years and this is not anti-incumbency, Telangana Finance and Health Minister T Harish Rao said on Monday.

In an interview to PTI, Rao, nephew of Chief Minister K Chandrashekar Rao said people know that if they vote for the BRS, the development will start from the current point and any other dispensation has to do so from scratch.

People have seen how the Congress has failed to deliver on the five guarantees in Karnataka and they don't want to see that experiment in Telangana, he claimed.

The opposition has resorted to all sorts of propaganda but people can see the development and how it has changed their lives. Schemes like Rythu Bandhu (investment support scheme for farmers) and Kalyana Lakshmi (marriage assistance scheme) are examples which other states want to follow, he added.

'After ten years of rule, no government can be a 100 per cent satisfaction government. Expectations will be more,' Rao said, adding it is not anti-incumbency.

During the second term, the government's expenses were higher, while revenues remained low due to the coronavirus pandemic. 'Still the government did not discontinue the welfare schemes although in some schemes, we could not deliver much,' the Bharat Rashtra Samithi leader said.

In case of the farm loan waiver scheme, the Finance minister said the state government has cleared Rs 14,000 crore out of the total Rs 19,000 crore and assured the rest would also be waived off.

Going forward, the government has several plans including development of surrounding areas of Hyderabad considering the rising population and the education sector, he said.

Seeking to dispel the opposition's allegations that barring Gajwel, Siddipet and Sircilla, the other Assembly constituencies were not developed at par in the state, Rao said it is incorrect as the ruling dispensation has focused on the all- round development.

'They are talking like this because they want to malign us to get some votes by confusing voters. But people know that they are enjoying 24/7 power, clean drinking water, better irrigation and hospital facilities under our welfare schemes,' he said.

There has been a drastic change in the hospital infrastructure in the state. The institutional deliveries in government hospitals have increased from only 13 per cent prior to 2014 to 76 per cent today, he added.

On concerns over rising debt due to huge spending on the welfare schemes, the Finance minister said that's not true as Telangana is the fifth state in the country having lower debt as per the RBI's latest report. 'There are 23 states above us. That means we are doing better than many other states.' He also said there won't be any financial problem in completion of the pending irrigation projects as about 80-85 per cent investments have already been made and not much funds would be required for their completion.

Asked if the new poll promises would further strain the state exchequer, Rao said unlike the Congress, the BRS party has made poll promises for implementation in the third term with all responsibilities keeping in mind the state's average growth rate of 15.6 per cent achieved in the last ten years.

'We know how to manage. We have ideas. We have revenue resources. Keeping in view of all these, we have made certain poll promises,' Rao said.

The Telangana government's outstanding public debt is estimated to be Rs 3,57,059 crore, according to Budget Estimates 2023-24.

Taking a dig at the grand old national party, Rao -- who is contesting for the seventh consecutive time from the Siddipet Assembly segment -- alleged the Congress has failed to implement the five poll guarantees in Karnataka even after six months of the formation of the government. It made promises to the people without any clarity on state finances and is now cutting resources from other schemes.

In Telangana too, the Congress has promised six guarantees in its election manifesto, but the people here are clever and intelligent. 'They will not fall under the trap of Rahul Gandhi and Priyanka Gandhi,' he added.

Asked if the defects that have surfaced in the Kaleshwaram Lift Irrigation project were politically damaging the party with the election campaign at its peak, Rao said the opposition is trying to put the blame on the BRS due to political reasons. The National Dam Safety Authority of the BJP-ruled central government has given a report on this issue within five days without reading the submissions made by the state government.

A similar problem was faced by the Andhra Pradesh government in case of the Polavaram Irrigation project but the central authorities have not come out with a report in five years and for Telangana it was issued within five days, he said and added that the people understand the motive behind it.

Stating that the defects are seen in one or two pillars in one barrage and not the entire Kaleshwaram project as projected by the opposition, Rao said, 'It is under warranty period. The L&T company is working to restore it in the next few months. Water will be available for the next crop.' On the BJP's poll promise of providing salaries on time to government employees, Rao claimed that state government employees in Telangana are the highest paid in the country.

'What will happen if there is 2-3 days of delay in giving the salary? The money has not stopped. It's financial management. Within the 5th of every month, all are getting paid.' The BJP is doing it for political reasons as the party does not have any stake here. 'BJP will bag a duck or win 1-2 seats,' he added.

On winning chances of the incumbent chief minister KCR in the high profile Gajwel and Kamareddy Assembly constituencies, Rao said he will triumph with a thumping majority in both constituencies and become a hat-trick CM. His opponents-BJP's Eatala Rajender and state Congress president Revanth Reddy in Kamareddy- are nowhere near in the competition.

Overall, the BRS expects more than 75 seats out of 119 in the polls to be held on November 30, he said and added there is no question of a hung Assembly. PTI LUX GDK SS

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