All politics is local
With the High Court at Hyderabad throwing a spanner in the conduct of elections to village panchayats, Telangana Chief Minister K Chandrashekar Rao now wants to raise the stock of TRS by revamping villages using official machinery The Chief Minister who plays politics like a chess game always dreams up one strategy or the other to stay ahead of the Congress and the latest is one such measure
With the High Court at Hyderabad throwing a spanner in the conduct of elections to village panchayats, Telangana Chief Minister K Chandrashekar Rao now wants to raise the stock of TRS by revamping villages using official machinery. The Chief Minister who plays politics like a chess game always dreams up one strategy or the other to stay ahead of the Congress and the latest is one such measure.
The High Court threw a douche of cold water at the state government at a time when the state government was all set to hold elections to panchayats. It directed the government not to go ahead with the elections without making a scientific enumeration of BCs and applying reservations to all the sub-groups (A, B, C, D, and E). There are 12,751 panchayats in the state including 4,388 panchayats which have been newly created.
At the latest review meeting with officials, KCR came to know that he cannot even continue incumbent sarpanches as persons-in-charge. The officials explained to him that the move to retain them as persons-in-charge is fraught with legal complications as there is a new Panchayat Act in force in the state. As the term of the panchayats expires on August 1, there is no way out for the CM but to bring them under the rule of special officers.
Accordingly, he is going for the second-best option available to him – taking measures to tone up the administration in villages to earn brownie points with the people ahead of not only panchayat elections whenever they are held, but also for the assembly elections where the rural voters will hold the key for winning.
Keeping this in mind, KCR has announced Rs 1 crore for each district and asked the officials to develop villages into model panchayats with all facilities that people would need. He has even announced special annual budgets and promised one sewerage plant for each village. The Chief Minister also wanted District Collectors and Panchayat Raj department officials to pay special attention to the action plans which special officers and village secretaries would draw up.
There is, however, criticism against KCR that he has emasculated the gram panchayats for the last four years by not even releasing the funds that are allotted to them by the Centre. There are reports that honorarium has not been paid to sarpanches in some districts for the last few months and they are not sure if they will get the money once they lose their positions after July 31. There are allegations that the state had adjusted the funds meant for panchayats against their outstanding arrears to power utilities.
The reason why KCR has suddenly begun showing interest in villages is not difficult to understand. Like any other politician, KCR too wants to sow wind and reap a whirlwind at the hustings. That is the reason why he has promised special budgets for panchayats and promised to enhance the salaries of employees. It remains to be seen infusing financial health into villages will help KCR in the electoral battle that lies ahead with Congress in 2019.