Shabbir Ali Ridicules BRS Criticism On MLAs Defection To Congress

Congress leader demands cancellation of Kokapet land allotted to BRS party

Shabbir Ali slams BRS, BJP on Singareni’s privatisation move and mismanagement

Hyderabad : Congress senior leader and Advisor to the Telangana Government (SC, ST, BC & Minorities) Mohammed Ali Shabbir launched a scathing attack on the Bharat Rashtra Samithi (BRS) for its stance on political defections. He accused BRS president and former Chief Minister K. Chandrashekar Rao of initiating the culture of defection in the state.

Addressing a press conference at Gandhi Bhavan on Monday, Shabbir Ali said that KCR started the culture of defection from the day he came to power in 2014 and continued it till he lost the 2023 Assembly elections. Citing examples, he said on June 2, 2014, on the day Telangana was officially formed, two BSP MLAs, Indrakaran Reddy and Koneru Konappa, defected to the BRS. On December 16, 2014, Talasani Srinivas Yadav, a TDP MLA, was appointed minister.

As per the rules, Srinvas Yadav should have resigned within six months and faced bye-elections, but he continued in his position without doing so. KCR subsequently facilitated the defection of 11 TDP MLAs one after another, culminating in the official merger of TDP with BRS on March 11, 2016. Srinivas Yadav remained a TDP MLA and a TRS Minister for 14 months and 24 days, which Shabbir Ali highlighted as a significant breach of democratic principles.

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During KCR’s first term (2014-2018), BRS witnessed the defection of 4 MPs, 25 MLAs, and 18 MLCs, totaling 47 defections. In the second term (2018-2023), another 14 MLAs, including 12 from Congress and two from TDP, defected to BRS. Shabbir Ali asserted that over the past decade, KCR orchestrated the defection of 59 elected representatives, fundamentally altering the political landscape in Telangana.

Shabbir Ali accused KCR of systematically undermining democracy in Telangana by decimating the opposition. He pointed to the period between March 2 and June 6, 2020, when KCR engineered the defection of 12 Congress MLAs, effectively stripping Dalit leader Bhatti Vikramarka of the Leader of Opposition status. Similarly, he accused KCR of inducing Congress MLCs to defect to BRS to prevent him, a Muslim leader, from assuming the position of Leader of Opposition in the Legislative Council, despite having only one month remaining in his term.

He condemned the BRS for criticising the Congress party, citing anti-defection laws and morals and labelling it as hypocrisy. He recalled that when Congress and TDP MLAs joined BRS, KCR justified it by claiming they were joining the ruling party to develop their constituencies and Telangana. However, now that BRS members are joining Congress, the same logic is not being applied. He claimed that more than 30 out of 39 BRS MLAs are ready to switch to Congress, predicting a significant weakening of BRS, which might lose its status as the main opposition party in the coming days. He suggested that, except for KCR’s family members, no one would remain in the BRS.

Shabbir Ali raised serious concerns about the allocation of prime land for BRS party offices. He stated that the previous KCR government allocated 11 acres of prime land worth Rs 1100 crore in Kokapet for just Rs 37 crore for the BRS office. He also pointed out that similar prime lands were allotted for BRS party offices in district headquarters. He demanded that the present Congress government cancel such allocations and reclaim the lands. He said the Kokapet land given to the BRS party should be auctioned, and its proceeds should be utilised for crop loan waiver and Rythu Bharosa schemes.

He said that in recent Lok Sabha elections, the BRS party did not win a single seat. It lost deposits in eight out of 17 seats and got only 16.68% votes, while it got 37.3% votes in Assembly elections. This drastic fall in voting percentage is proof that BRS is almost finished in Telangana. Why does such a small party need so much land? He asked, adding that BRS already had an office in Banjara Hills.

The Congress leader also accused the previous BRS regime of gross mismanagement of Singareni Collieries Company Ltd (SCCL), resulting in a significant decrease in the workforce. This alleged mismanagement, he highlighted, has led to a reduction of 22,000 workers in the company since the formation of Telangana.

He criticised the BRS government for failing to fulfill the promise of regularising over 25,000 contract workers in SCCL and accused KCR of taking a U-turn on the issue of open cast mining. Despite promising to ban open cast mining during elections, KCR approved more than 16 open cast mines after coming to power in June 2014. He also noted the government’s failure to construct permanent houses for Singareni workers, accusing BRS of shedding crocodile tears over the company’s plight.

Shabbir Ali further accused the BJP of attempting to privatise SCCL, with the auction of coal mines being the first step, while the BRS remained a mute spectator for ten years as the BJP government systematically damaged SCCL.

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