Telangana CM K. Chandrashekar Rao with Bharatiya Kisan Union (BKU) Spokesperson Rakesh Tikait during a sit-in protest against Centre's paddy procurement policy, in New Delhi, Monday, April 11, 2022. (PTI Photo/Atul Yadav)
Hyderabad: Chief Minister K Chandrashekhar Rao sat on a dharna for one-and-a-half hours at Delhi on Monday, and set a 24-hour deadline to the Centre to announce its decision on the Telangana government's demand that it procure all the paddy produced in the state in the rabi season.
"I request Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Union minister Piyush Goyal with folded hands to procure paddy from Telangana as is being done in other states. We will wait 24 hours for your response," he said, speaking in Hindi throughout.
If this is not done, "we will do whatever is required to protect our farmers. But we will not leave you. We will come after you and expose your double standards as well as injustice done to the farmers," said Rao, who joined a small list of CMs who have sat on a dharna in Delhi.
Rao said he would "unite like-minded political parties to build a farmers' movement and "create a strong earthquake that will shake the throne of BJP government."
The dharna, the first by the TRS after attaining statehood., was held at Telangana Bhavan where farmer leader Rakesh Tikait and TRS leaders were present.
The CM stated that he would return to Delhi to meet leaders and CMs of Opposition parties to formulate strategy for the upcoming Presidential elections and the action plan against the BJP.
Rao demanded that the Centre come up with a national policy to purchase foodgrain from the states. "If the PM is not capable of bringing a uniform national foodgrain procurement policy, he should step down. The next government will come up with this policy and implement it effectively for the benefit of the farming community," the CM said.
The CM accused minister Goyal of insulting the people of Telangana by stating that the Telangana government should make its people get habituated to eating broken rice. "This is nothing but arrogance. We are not here to beg you. We are demanding our rights," the CM added.
The CM thanked Tikait, the Bharatiya Kisan Union (BKU) leader, for sitting in support with the Telangana government. He also welcomed Tikait's statement earlier in the day that there will be a new revolution by farmers in the country.
He extended the support of the government and the TRS to Tikait for any farmer agitations that the BKU takes up.
The CM alleged that the BJP government was threatening Opposition leaders with CBI, ED and I-T raids if they questioned its wrongdoings.
"BJP leaders are barking every day in Telangana that they will send me to jail. I challenge them to send me to jail if they have the guts instead of barking," he said.
He said BJP leaders were threatening all Opposition leaders in this manner in the other states. "No CBI, I-T or ED raids take place on BJP leaders, as if they are clean and are the kin of Satya Harishchandra."
The CM also termed state BJP leaders 'shameless' for holding a counter dharna at Indira Park, Hyderabad, on paddy procurement.