The Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) Thursday hit back at BJP president Amit Shah for questioning its chief K Chandrasekhar Rao's move to go in for early elections in the state, saying he has done exactly what the then Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi chose to do in 2002.
Addressing a BJP rally at Karimnagar, 160 km from Hyderabad on Wednesday, Mr Shah had hit out at caretaker chief minister Rao, saying it has thrust additional election expenditure of hundreds of crores of rupees on people of the state, which in the normal course should have gone to the polls, along with that of Lok Sabha during April-May next year.
Mr Shah also claimed KCR's move stemmed from the fact that he is "scared" of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, suggesting that the Modi factor would have influenced the state polls, had it been held simultaneously with Lok Sabha.
The Telangana assembly elections will be held on December 7.
The assembly was dissolved on September 6 on the recommendation of Mr Rao, cutting short the term of the House by nearly nine months.
Speaking to PTI, Karimnagar Lok Sabha member B Vinod Kumar sought to counter Mr Shah.
Mr Kumar, also deputy floor leader of the TRS in the Lok Sabha, said at some point or the other, leaders, including Indira Gandhi, Rajiv Gandhi, Atal Bihari Vajpayee, NT Rama Rao and N Chandrababu Naidu, have opted for early elections.
"All political parties have gone in for early elections some time or other. Even Modi also. Why did Modi go for early elections in 2002? Modi should answer first. Just like KCR did, he also went for elections in 2002 eight months before the schedule. Why Modi went (for early elections)? That's the reply for KCR also," he said.
Mr Kumar also responded to Mr Shah's charge that KCR promised to make a Dalit the chief minister before the 2014 elections but did not honour it; and also that his agenda now is to make his son (KT Rama Rao) or daughter (K Kavitha) chief minister.
Mr Rama Rao was a Cabinet minister in the dissolved assembly, while Ms Kavitha is Lok Sabha member from Nizamabad.
"Amit Shah should know that KCR did not make such a statement in the 2014 elections. He made such a statement during the course of our (Telangana statehood) agitation. At the time of the 2014 elections, we were very clear that KCR would be our chief minister. In 2014, we never said (that a Dalit would be made CM)," Vinod Kumar said.
"Neither a Dalit, nor KTR (as Rama Rao is popularly known) nor Kavitha will be on the agenda because KCR will be elected chief minister once again," he claimed.
Mr Kumar described as "very unfortunate" Mr Shah's charge that KCR and Congress president Rahul Gandhi are engaged in 'break-in-India', while PM Modi is in 'make-in-India' mode.
"Supporting minorities and speaking for reservations for minorities... does it mean break in India?" he asked.
On Mr Shah's charge that the KCR government had failed to fulfill its election promises, Mr Kumar said, "Not at all. We have fulfilled all our election promises made in 2014. We have done much more. We have also implemented what we have not promised in 2014. We have done more than what we have promised."
Asked about the perception in some political circles that TRS and BJP have a tacit understanding, Mr Kumar was emphatic in denying it.
"Not at all. We are not going to have any political alliance, either with the BJP or Congress in future also," he asserted.