"Farmers Can Change Governments": Telangana's KCR In Punjab

He appealed to farmers' leaders to continue their agitation against the Centre until they get constitutional gurantees on support prices for crops.

KCR attacked the Centre, accusing them of acting against the interests of farmers.

Chandigarh:

Telangana Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao, who is in Punjab to pay tributes to the soldiers killed in the Galwan Valley clash and the farmers who died during the anti-farm law stir last year, appealed to farmers' leaders to continue their agitation against the Centre until they get constitutional guarantees on support prices for crops. "Farmers can topple governments, it's not a big thing," he said while exhorting them to unite for a nationwide agitation which he said he will join and support along with other opposition parties like the Aam Aadmi Party.

Consistently raising the pitch on farmers' issues, Mr Rao seems to be setting the tone for his national ambitions in politics. Joining him in this line of attack, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, who spoke before Mr Rao, claimed that the BJP-led Centre wanted Delhi stadiums to be converted into makeshift jails to house farmers marching into Delhi to protest against the new farm laws. He said he refused the Centre's request in the face of massive pressure and provided facilities to the protesting farmers instead. The Delhi government helped with langars, drinking water, and toilet facilities for the protesting farmers, Mr Kejriwal said.

Prominent farmers' leader Rakesh Tikait, who was perhaps the most influential voice in the massive agitation last year against contentious farm laws which were eventually repealed, was also in attendance. Mr Rao, or KCR as he is fondly called, acknowledged him by name during the start of his speech.

KCR has repeatedly attacked the Centre over farmers' issues, including rising fertiliser prices, a "faulty" Minimum Support Prices (MSP) system, and continuous hikes in fuel costs.

He addressed the families of 600 farmers who died during the year-long agitation, paid homage, and empathised with them. Telangana government has also announced a compensation of Rs 3 lakh each for the farmers who died during the protests. 

Highlighting his government's achievements, KCR said before Telangana was formed farmers were in dire straits with many dying by suicide every day. He claimed there was little to no electricity, and lots of problems nobody addressed.

"After Telangana was formed, the electricity issue was fixed. We provide high quality 24 hours power supply for free," he said.

Taking a swipe at the Centre, he claimed that they insist Telangana install electricity meters and not give away electricity for free. "They ask us to extract money, suck farmers' blood," he said, adding that he refused saying he would rather die than install meters. 

"Whenever a state does something for farmers, they don't like it," he added.

Eying a national role in politics, KCR has been meeting prominent opposition leaders. He earlier met Samajwadi Party chief Akhilesh Yadav in Delhi, toured a Delhi government school and showered praise on Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal's education model the same day, and shared the stage with Punjab Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann today.

On May 26, Mr Rao will meet former Prime Minister HD Deve Gowda In Bengaluru. He will then go to Ralegan Siddhi in Maharashtra the following day to meet social activist Anna Hazare.

He is expected to visit West Bengal and Bihar over the following weekend to meet the families of the soldiers who died at Galwan Valley during a standoff with China.

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