During the election campaign for the December 2018 assembly elections in Telangana, K Chandrasekhar Rao had taken full advantage of Chandrababu Naidu’s presence in the Mahakutami that included both the Congress and the Telugu Desam. KCR had claimed that if the Mahakutami came to power, Telangana would be ruled from Amaravati and the rightful share of water for Telangana would be diverted to Andhra Pradesh. The Congress was never able to counter the charge effectively.
Now with Telangana complaining against Andhra Pradesh to the Krishna Water Board over what it alleges is an “illegal diversion of water to Rayalaseema”, the Congress has decided to hit back. Congress president Uttam Kumar Reddy has alleged that Andhra’s move has exposed KCR’s inaction and inability to thwart the project. Accusing KCR of colluding with Jagan, Reddy says this will destroy agriculture in the Krishna river basin and deprive Telangana districts like Mahbubnagar, Nalgonda, Khammam and Ranga Reddy of their rightful share of water.
While the Congress as the opposition is within its rights to criticise the government, what it shows is the plan to beat KCR with the same stick that he used against them. Since the years of the separatist struggle, the Telangana vs Andhra dispute has been a running political theme, exploited to the hilt by the Telangana Rashtra Samiti.
Now the Congress, which is no longer a political power to reckon with in Andhra Pradesh, has decided to accuse the TRS of compromising on Telangana interests. It is the same charge that KCR has often leveled against the Congress.
The Congress also wants to dent KCR’s positioning as the sole custodian of Telangana and the most informed voice on irrigation as a subject. The Telangana CM has often derided past irrigation projects, accusing them of compromising on the state’s interests and instead favouring coastal Andhra and Rayalaseema.