Tribal Leader As Candidate For President Is "Tokenism" Says Telangana Minister

Telangana Minister KT Rama Rao said the BJP has not done anything for the welfare of the tribal community in the last eight years.

Tribal Leader As Candidate For President Is 'Tokenism' Says Telangana Minister

Telangana Minister KT Rama Rao is in Delhi to support Yashwant Sinha. (File)

New Delhi:

TRS working president and Telangana IT Minister K T Rama Rao (KTR) on Monday called NDA's decision "tokenism" to nominate Droupadi Murmu, a "tribal candidate" for the Presidential election.

The Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) is supporting the Opposition's candidate Yashwant Sinha to uphold the constitutional values which are under attack in the Prime Minister Narendra Modi's regime, he said.

The TRS leader was in the national capital to extend support to Mr Sinha, who filed nomination his papers in the Parliament House on Monday.

The BJP-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) has fielded tribal leader and former Jharkhand governor Droupadi Murmu as its candidate in the presidential poll to be held on July 18.

"We don't believe in tokenism. It is not about Murmu's candidature. She represents a party which is heavily reliant on unconstitutional practices. Therefore, we are vehemently opposing the BJP candidate," Mr Rao told reporters.

He alleged that the Centre has been abusing all constitutional offices and there is a need to stop this. "Someone has to raise voice against this," he said.

Even the plight of Dalits has not changed much after Ram Nath Kovind, a member of the community, became the President, he added.

Stating that BJP has not done anything for the welfare of the tribal community in the last eight years, the TRS leader said a tribal university was promised for Telangana as part of the Andhra Pradesh Reorganisation Act but it has not seen the light of the day yet.

Besides, the Telangana government had requested the Centre to increase the reservation for tribal people in the state due to increase in their population. "A resolution was passed in the assembly four years back but the Centre has not accepted this request," he said.

Mr Rao also said that the NDA government through an ordinance forcefully took away seven blocks from Telangana which had more than 90 per cent tribal population.

"We don't believe in tokenism. We don't have any choice but to support Yashwant Sinhaji who has been supported by all Opposition parties. We are hopeful that he will be elected with (the support of) a lot of like-minded voters," he said.

On the Maharashtra political crisis, the TRS working president said the central government has been successful in pulling down democratically elected governments in eight states, including Karnataka and Madhya Pradesh.

He complained that the central government has not done enough for Telangana despite the state government contributing a major share in the country's growth annually.

"We are the fourth largest contributor to the country's GDP. The state has constructed the world's largest lift irrigation project Kaleshwaram. What has Modi government contributed in return to Telangana in last eight years? Let the Modi government bring out a white paper on this," he said.

(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)

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