It is understood that Telangana RTC Union leader Ashwathama Reddy is close to Finance minister Harish Rao. Not surprising because Harish, who is K Chandrasekhar Rao’s nephew, led the RTC union till January this year. But it is Reddy’s politically volatile utterances when seen in the context of this friendship, that are raising eyebrows.
Addressing a gathering on Friday, Reddy asked Harish Rao to break his silence and take the initiative to solve the issues being faced by the RTC employees. Over 48000 employees were sacked en masse by KCR on 6 October, the second day of the strike, that has entered its 15th day today. Reddy went to the extent of telling Harish that the workers will back him if he resigned and contested again from Siddipet constituency.
It is a fact that Harish Rao who enjoys clout among the RTC unions, has been kept away and the crisis allowed to escalate. This even though the strike is putting citizens to huge inconvenience. Schools and colleges have been forcibly shut and commuters are having to shell out exorbitant amounts for other modes of transport. Two RTC employees have committed suicide.
Reddy also claimed TRS MLAs had been in touch with him over phone to extend support to him. Drawing a comparison with 1995 when NT Rama Rao was overthrown despite enjoying a full majority in the then Andhra Pradesh assembly, Reddy warned KCR not to take his numbers for granted.
This has made people wonder if Reddy is just a loose cannon who talks big or is a puppet acting on someone’s instructions. Union leaders are known to talk about the problems of their workplace but in this case, Reddy telling KCR to beware of a political coup of sorts has only set tongues wagging.