Nizamabad MP

Centre’s Bihar package very unfair : Kalvakuntla Kavitha

Kalvakuntla Kavitha is TRS MP and daughter of Telangana CM K Chandrashekar Rao. As PM Modi announced a bumper package for poll-bound Bihar, Kavitha spoke with Amin Ali about what India’s newest state feels, working with a Centre allied to rival TDP — and why regional parties shout in Parliament:

What’s your take on the Centre’s package for Bihar?
This package is heavily political — it is against the spirit of cooperative federalism. This attitude, where the Centre is trying to undermine a state’s CM, is not right.

This is seen as gross injustice by other states too which question the bias shown for a poll-bound state.

We’ve been demanding excise duty discount. The Centre’s agreed to a 4 cut. We’ve requested a 10 discount to propel growth. It’s not happened. Policies need to be uniform.

What’s Telangana’s experience been with PM Modi’s government so far?
Well, the relationship hasn’t been great — but it hasn’t been hostile either. We supported the land bill and GST. We’ll support NDA government in development. We expect an unbiased approach from the Centre as well.

Bringing GST and ironing out differences over the land bill shows government is intent on reforms. But surprisingly, these are UPA bills — there’s no clarity on this government’s own flagship schemes, like Make in India and Smart Cities.

The states are not sure what government wants through these — there are hardly any guidelines in place.

Speaking of guidelines, Parliament was recently disrupted by TRS MPs too — was this necessary?
When we protest in the house, it’s for our region’s development — regional parties shout to make their region’s voice heard.

But here, two national parties stalled the house. Both are to be equally blamed.

BJP is much more aggressive in Parliament — but a majority means an added responsibility to make the house work. A debate could’ve happened weeks ago, we could’ve had a productive session.

But the prime minister’s absence became a topic of debate.

Speaking of debates, why does Telangana’s friction with Andhra Pradesh continue?
Understand the background — we were an independent state after 1947 and then merged with Andhra in 1956. This was based on certain conditions, like sharing jobs, resources and political power — even the state’s name was to be Telangana Andhra Pradesh.

None of these conditions were met. Andhra started exerting political and cultural dominance. Urdu was Telangana’s dominant language but was forcibly replaced. Telugu films invariably had a Telangana character as villain or comedian.

Demanding jobs and recognition, our struggle for a separate state started.

These demands have not been met even today — the struggle continues.

What are major clashes now?
Well, the Centre is perceived to be biased towards Andhra due to TDP being an NDA ally.

Water, power-sharing and administrative issues are major problems. Jobs are dominated by Andhra residents. The high court needs to be bifurcated. The Centre needs to look at Telangana locally rather than be under pressure from its ally.

We’re fighting to succeed. Our power scenario, with 24-hour supply, is lauded by all — a major achievement in our first year.

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