Telangana Chief Minister K. Chandrashekar Rao must end this unspoken boycott of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, repeatedly, in violation of not only political protocol but also all precedents of the past, in which, leaders from different parties, often at uncompromising and bitter loggerheads, have continued to have good relationships when it came to Constitutional positions.
The Prime Minister is a leader of the country. As a politician, any Prime Minister will have Opposition and rival parties, who would oppose the party of the PM; and even as different PMs will continue to rule India from different political dispensations and ideologies, as a federally structured society, different states will be ruled by Chief Ministers of different parties.
The ruling party at the Centre may well be the Opposition party in several states. But none of this can be the basis for any Chief Minister to totally boycott the Prime Minister, end all cordial relationships and not engage in civil engagements and basic courtesies.
A Chief Minister, as a leader of a state, is always bound to work for the best of the state and its people, and no state can develop harmonious relations with the Centre, or its support, be it financial, legal or others. Similarly, a CM must also ensure the people of his or her state get to benefit from all Central schemes, irrespective of the otherwise political logjams that may arise.
K. Chandrashekar Rao has every right, in the capacity of the national president of the Telangana Rashtra Samiti (TRS), to choose to meet or not to meet, leaders of any other political party, and thus, to boycott or refuse to give audience to any BJP leader, no matter what their stature. It is politics.
But Chief Minister Rao, in the capacity of heading a state government, must ensure there is a continuity of discussion, civil engagement and courteous discharge of protocol, especially towards Constitutional figures, including Prime Minister Narendra Modi, whom he may well and truly totally oppose politically.
Both PM Modi and CM Rao are occupying the respective positions because of the people of the country and state of Telangana; and any disrespect to any position is also disrespectful to the people. And no political leader, or person from any strata, must disrespect people, or their will, in a democracy. K. Chandrashekar Rao is not the only Chief Minister or regional party chief who opposes PM Modi politically — Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M. K. Stalin and West Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee oppose the BJP and Modi, and fight tooth and nail when it comes to state Assembly elections.
However, as Chief Ministers, they conduct their roles with dignity, receiving the PM as per protocol in their states or attending programmes where both are guests, and even seeking an appointment and meeting the PM in Delhi. Even at the peak of Left parties’ face-off with the Congress, the late Jyothi Basu would engage with PMs, as would the BJP CMs, who would engage with Congress party PMs respectfully.
It is high time the Telangana CM met with the Prime Minister, in the larger interest of the state of Telangana and its people....