The sole political think tank in Telangana – KCR, the chief minister of Telangana, recently confirmed the Scheduled Tribes community’s access to the Girijana Bandhu scheme and increased reservation in public employment. This rakes huge impact on TRS party cadre and leadership in Telangana. According to political observers this ‘effort’ may turn hurting to TRS cadre.

In a recent unexpected revelation, Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao (KCR) stated that the state would increase the reservation of the Scheduled Tribes people in government positions from the current 6% to 10%. In addition, he unveiled the Girijana Bandhu welfare programme, which is comparable to the Dalita Bandhu already in place and will provide the underprivileged community with a capital of Rs. 10 lakh for their uplift. They did not appreciate the decision of the CM, who is renowned for outwitting the opposition. KCR was accused by the opposition of making hollow promises.

The Girijana Bandhu initiative was allegedly unveiled with the Munugode by-election in mind, according to the BJP, which also questioned its timing. The STs’ welfare was delayed, and BJP state chief Bandi Sanjay wanted to know why. Given that there would be elections in the state in December 2023, the BJP’s criticism was justified. KCR made several announcements in addition to the scheme to court the Dalits and STs. He dedicated the Adivasi Bhavan and Sevalal Banjara Bhavan in Hyderabad on September 17, National Integration Day, which each cost Rs 21.5 crore to build.

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The CM’s outreach to the Dalits and Adivasis ahead of the Assembly election is viewed by political observers as a move to counter the BJP, which has been mobilising the Backward Classes (BC) towards them. The BJP as part of their electoral strategy to infiltrate Telangana, has been focussing on bringing the BC’s into their fold, who constitute the majority – with 50% population in the state.

As part of this strategy, the BJP had accommodated former BJP Telangana president K Laxman by inducting him as the national president of BJP’s OBC Morcha. He was even nominated as the Rajya Sabha MP from Uttar Pradesh. They further elevated him as a member of the parliamentary board in the BJP and also as a member of the central election committee. 

While the Girijana Bandhu scheme and the reservation enhancement certainly seem to be a part of the political strategy of TRS, analysts foresee that the strategy might turn out to be counter-productive to the TRS. “If the CM focuses only on Dalits and STs, there will be concerns from the BC community and other forward castes, who will question the policies of the TRS government. These communities are the ones who shape opinions. Unless KCR has another plan in mind, this strategy of antagonising the BCs would prove costly in the coming election,” said Hyderabad-based political analyst Palwai Raghavender Reddy.

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As per the 2011 caste census, the population of Dalits in Telangana is estimated to be around 16%, the ST population is projected at 6% and the Muslims are around 18%. Raghavender Reddy’s analysis has merit as the BJP has already provoked the BCs, asking why they have not been included in a scheme similar to the Dalita Bandhu. Reddy views this approach by the KCR government as a short-sighted one. “Not all Dalits and STs will get the Rs 10 lakh benefit. Many Dalits have already complained that they have not received the Dalita Bandhu benefit. So, it is unwise to introduce such a scheme which will benefit only a few,” Reddy said.  

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Another political observer, B Sudharshan, asserted that TRS’s motivation for this policy was to completely destroy the Congress in the state. “The Congress party’s primary and traditional vote bank is comprised of Dalits and Adivasis. The TRS wants to destroy the Congress by focusing on them, according to Sudharshan. He pointed out that since the BJP would not be able to win the upcoming election in Telangana, TRS has focused exclusively on the Congress. The TRS sought to win over the Dalits, Adivasis, and Muslims that make up the Congress vote bank because they did not perceive any immediate threat from the BJP. “Congress is a Reddy party in Telangana. KCR’s political career would be over if they won power. Due to this he is focusing on these sections,” Sudharshan noted. He added, “Congress is a strong contender and in case the TRS and Congress do not get a majority, there is always a possibility of BJP and TRS forming an alliance.” #KhabarLive #hydnews #hyderabadlive