No mention of CAA, NPR in Telangana governor’s speech on Day 1 of budget session
Contrary to expectations, Telangana Governor Tamilisai Soundararajan speech made no reference to the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) and National Population Register (NPR) in her address to the joint session of both houses of the state legislature on the first day of the budget session on Friday.
The Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) government led by K Chandrasekhar Rao has strongly opposed CAA and NPR in its present format and indicated that it would adopt resolutions in the assembly opposing them.
Since the governor’s speech reflects the policy statement of the state government, it was expected that she would mention the TRS government’s opposition to CAA and NPR.
However, in her speech, Soundararajan only made an indirect reference to these contentious issues, saying that the state government would act tough against the attempts to create communal tensions and suppress such attempts with an iron hand.
“Telangana is known for its Ganga-Jamuna Tehzeeb. It is the symbol of communal harmony. People from all faiths are living here peacefully with harmony for centuries together. Let me declare here that my government is fully committed to uphold the unity among its people and to protect the secular fabric of the state,” she said.
Kerala Governor Arif Mohammed Khan, on the first day of the state assembly session recently, read out a paragraph containing criticism of CAA, but not before making a protest statement in the House that he was reading out the paragraph only because chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan wanted him to read it.
“Although I hold the view that this does not come under the definition of policy or programme,” Khan had said.
Soundararajan in her speech said there would be peace and harmony in the society only if the law and order situation was under control and progress could be achieved without any hindrances.
She explained in detail various initiatives taken by the TRS government since the formation of Telangana state in June 2014 for various sections people like farmers, youth, students, women, old people and disabled people, apart from the progress achieved in various sectors like irrigation, power, drinking water supply, agriculture, industries, information technology, education and health.
She said the installed capacity of power plants in Telangana had gone up from 7,778 megawatts to 16,246 MW in the last five years and the peak demand in the state had gone up to 13,168 MW, which is higher than the demand in the united Andhra Pradesh state.
The construction of Kaleshwaram, world’s largest multi-state lift irrigation project, had transformed the landscape of Telangana, which was evident from a 123.50% increase in paddy cultivation during Rabi season – from 17.08 lakh acres to 38.19 lakh acres in a span of one year, she said.
She explained how several schemes like Rythu Bandhu, Mission Kakatiya and Mission Bhagiratha had become role models for other states in the country and had won appreciation from international agencies.
The governor also pointed out how Telangana had become a hub of Information technology with the world’s renowned companies are coming with investments to establish their companies in the state. The IT exports, which were ₹57,000 crore in 2013-14, had now gone up to ₹1.09 lakh crore, she said.
The Congress and All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (AIMIM) demanded that the TRS government pass a resolution against CAA and put on hold the NPR exercise since it has several controversial clauses.
Congress’ spokesperson of its Telangana unit Gudur Narayan Reddy, who demanded that opposition to CAA and NPR should reflect in the governor’s speech, said it clearly showed both the TRS and Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) were hand in glove with each other.
“Since Tamilisai was BJP state president of Tamil Nadu before becoming Telangana governor, she would have definitely felt embarrassed to read out the references to CAA and NPR. That could be the reason why the KCR government avoided mentioning the same in her speech,” Narayana Reddy said.
The Business Advisory Committee of the Telangana assembly, which met later in the afternoon, decided that a resolution against the citizenship act, NPR and the National Register of Citizens (NRC) would be adopted in the assembly during the ongoing budget session.
Chief minister K Chandrashekhar Rao said during the meeting that his government will take up the issue for discussion and get the resolution passed.
“The chief minister’s proposal was also endorsed by MIM and the Congress,” state legislative affairs minister Vemula Prashanth Reddy said while speaking to reporters after the meeting.
With this, Telangana will be joining the other non-BJP state governments which are opposed to CAA and disinclined to implement NPR in its present format.