Komatireddy Raj Gopal Reddy, the BJP's candidate in a key by-election in Telangana, has taken a swipe at the "Telangana model" that Chief Minister K Chandrashekar Rao, or KCR, often cites to highlight the TRS government's achievements.
Mr Reddy is contesting the Munugode bypoll. He contested the assembly election as a Congress candidate and won, but resigned in August and joined the BJP. This necessitated the by-election, which Mr Reddy said he is confident of winning.
"What is the Telangana model? Land mafia, sand mafia, granite mafia, that is the Telangana model," Mr Reddy told NDTV at his campaign event.
"People want this election because there is no equality in the state for over three years. The government has not given a single rupee for people's development. People elected me, it is my primary responsibility to develop this constituency," Mr Reddy said.
KCR's Telangana Rashtra Samithi, or TRS, has alleged Mr Reddy joined the BJP after his family-owned company won a Rs 18,000 crore coal mining contract from the central government.
The BJP leader denied the allegation.
"My family business is 36 years old. The company is run by my son. It got a tender...in Coal India, a global competitive tender. They have made a big political issue out of it. But here KCR is giving a lot of contracts on nomination basis...They don't have any proof that I have done anything wrong. Give proof, do it," Mr Reddy said.
He said he decided not to join the TRS - which welcomed 12 Congress MLAs in 2019 in a devastating loss for Sonia Gandhi's party in the southern state - because KCR's party "has no moral and ethical qualities."
"Why should have I joined TRS? They killed the opposition party by taking 12 MLAs. From that day onwards I never wanted to be associated with the TRS. We are a democracy, not dictatorship. Why did they take away 12 MLAs? That was the big mistake," Mr Reddy said, adding he, however, doesn't have any bad impression of the Congress.
"I have respect for Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi. Thing is when we lost 12 MLAs, people lost their trust in the Congress party," Mr Reddy told NDTV.
Munugode is traditionally known to support the Congress party. That doesn't bother Mr Reddy, who says the people in the constituency genuinely like him. "This is a Congress area. I got elected from the Congress. After I moved to BJP, the people who trust me also became BJP supporters," Mr Reddy said.
The bypoll is on November 3.