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PM Modi to visit Telangana amid protests, KCR to stay away

Hyderabad: Prime Minister Narendra Modi will be visiting Telangana on Saturday amid tight security in view of the protests called by the Left parties and criticism by the TRS government.

The state police have tightened security at Ramagundam in Peddapalli district where the Prime Minister will be inaugurating revamped Ramagundam Fertilizer and Chemicals Limited (RFCL).

He will also lay the foundation stone or inaugurate some railway and highway projects in the state and address a public meeting.

Chief Minister K. Chandrasekhar Rao has decided to skip the Prime Minister’s programme. He is also not likely to receive the Prime Minister when the latter arrives at Begumpet Airport from Visakhapatnam.

This will be the fourth time this year that KCR will not be receiving Prime Minister Modi. He is staying away from the programme at Ramagundam as the Centre has not extended a proper invitation to him.

Union Culture and Tourism Minister G. Kishan Reddy, however, has denied this. He claimed that the Centre followed due protocol and procedure in extending the invitation to KCR.

Kishan Reddy said Union Health and Family Welfare and Fertilisers Minister Mansukh Mandaviya personally wrote to KCR inviting him for inauguration of RFCL.

The Prime Minister’s visit to Telangana comes days after TRS won Munugode Assembly by-election and the decision of TRS to change its name to Bharat Rashtra Samithi (BRS) to expand its activities pan-India.

KCR, a bitter critic of Prime Minister Modi, is also making renewed attempts to stitch together a national alliance to take on BJP in 2024 elections.

The CPI and CPI-M, which backed TRS in Munugode by-election, have called for protests during the Prime Minister’s visit against the Centre’s “discriminatory” attitude towards Telangana.

The Left parties have called for protest demonstrations in all the constituency headquarters across the undivided Khammam district.

The Communist leaders have alleged that the Centre is depriving Telangana of its due share in taxes levied by it.

They say the Centre failed to fulfill the assurances made to Telangana in Andhra Pradesh Reorganisation Act.

Their protest is also against “anti-worker” and “pro-corporate” policies pursued by the Modi government as part of its aggressive privatisation drive.

Since the Prime Minister is visiting Ramagundam coal belt, employees of state-owned Singareni Collieries Company Limited (SCCL) staged a protest on Thursday against the Centre’s proposed move to privatise coal blocks.

Activists of TRS-affiliated Telangana Boggu Gani Karmika Sangham (TGBKS) staged demonstrations by wearing black badges in Godavarikhani of Peddapalli district opposing Modi’s visit. Leaders and activists of AITUC, CITU and INTUC also participated in the protest.

TRS and the Left parties have also criticised the Prime Minister for inaugurating the RFCL plant now while it started production last year. They alleged that Prime Minister Modi is trying to drive political mileage.

KCR’s move to stay away from Prime Minister’s programme and the planned protest by the Left parties have evoked strong reaction from the BJP.

BJP MP K. Laxman said it was not proper on part of KCR to stay away from Prime Minister’s programme.

Laxman said that while parties in Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu were welcoming Prime Minister’s visits rising above politics, TRS leaders were not welcoming his visit to Telangana. He asked KCR to understand the difference between politics and development.

The BJP MP said instead of skipping the event, the Chief Minister should make use of the opportunity to demand the Prime Minister to undertake development works in Telangana.

Meanwhile, police are not taking any chances in view of the protests called by the Left parties and some other groups. The police have warned that strict action will be taken against those trying to disrupt the Prime Minister’s visit.

Police were making additional security arrangements as Peddapalli district is known for some presence of Maoists.

More than 2,500 police personnel will be on duty as part of the security arrangements for the Prime Minister’s visit.

Ramagundam Police Commissioner Chandrasekhar Reddy said some people have been already taken into custody as a precautionary measure.