As Cong bids for Telangana, BRS warns voters of Karnataka ploy, ‘conspiracy’ against state

BRS has alleged that Congress is diverting funds from Karnataka and Chhattisgarh to ‘influence’ voters in Telangana.

WrittenBy:Shivani Kava
Date:
Pictures of KTR and DKS.
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Amid the elections in Telangana, the buzzword is Karnataka. Over the last few weeks, Telangana IT minister KT Rama Rao and others in the Bharat Rashtra Samithi have been pointing to the Congress rule in Karnataka and cautioning the Telangana voters. 

The News Minute learned that this focus on Karnataka is not accidental. But a meeting between two Congress leaders, an intel about alleged money deals, and the fear of a ‘Gujarat model’ repeat in the electoral fight has prompted the BRS to act.

As soon as the Karnataka results came in on May 13, a jubilant Telangana Congress president A Revanth Reddy declared: “No stopping the Congress. Yesterday, it was Himachal Pradesh, today it’s Karnataka, tomorrow it will be Telangana.” 

The speculation then began that Karnataka Congress leader DK Shivakumar, known for his political manoeuvrings, would be appointed as the party’s Telangana election in-charge. Almost immediately, AICC general secretary and Telangana in-charge Manikrao Thakre denied that DKS would be handed over the responsibility of the Telangana polls. 

BRS said they had been watching these developments closely, and Thakre’s denial had seemed to suggest the non-involvement of DKS and other Congress leaders. But this changed soon.

In the first week of September, Revanth Reddy rushed to Bengaluru to meet DKS. It was reported that the duo spoke about the induction of YS Sharmila into the party, but the BRS believed that Revanth was in Karnataka’s capital city to insist DKS to help the Telangana campaign. 

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A BRS source also alleged that around the same time, the state intelligence said that money was being routed to the Telangana Congress by a Karnataka leader through sand mining contractors.  

The first salvo came in September. 

Days after the Congress in Telangana announced its six guarantees, KTR accused the Karnataka government of imposing a ‘political election tax’ on Bengaluru builders to fund the Congress’ Telangana unit. 

Labelling the party “scamgress”, he alleged that funds were being diverted from Karnataka and Chhattisgarh to influence voters in Telangana.

The narrative further intensified in October when KTR warned Telangana voters against choosing Congress, drawing parallels to the alleged “repercussions” faced by the people of Karnataka under the Congress rule.

Countering ‘Karnataka model’ 

BRS leader Krishank Manne and others visited various districts in Karnataka, including Kalaburagi, Yadgir and Mandya, reportedly to gather proof of the poor performance of the Karnataka government. 

This approach, Krishank said, was driven by a desire to preemptively counter any attempts by the Congress to leverage the ‘Karnataka model’, akin to how the BJP in 2014 had highlighted the Gujarat model in its campaigns. 

In the three districts, the BRS met and interviewed farmers, women and young voters. Armed with these videos, the BRS then started attacking the Congress guarantees, including free electricity — a promise that the party has been replicated in Telangana. 

Krishank shared a video of a group of farmers from Karnataka staging a rally in Telangana’s Kodangal assembly constituency on October 25. They cautioned voters against supporting the Congress in the upcoming elections. 

While the Congress dismissed the protest as a “paid” demonstration organised by the ruling BRS, around 200 farmers highlighted the power shortages they face in Karnataka. 

This event was significant, especially since it occurred in Revanth Reddy’s constituency. The Congress leader had made a controversial statement that farmers in Telangana do not need 24-hour electricity, and that a three-hour supply will be sufficient. This had also triggered strong protest by the BRS. 

KTR then threw more punches, highlighting Karnataka’s electricity woes and mocking the grand old party’s Telangana dreams. 

He urged Telangana voters to not commit the “same mistake” as people did in the neighbouring state. “The people of Karnataka are suffering now as they are facing power outages. The farmers took the crocodiles from the emptied tanks to sub-stations in protest. The same Congress is now seeking an opportunity (to form the government) in Telangana,” he said.

Things heated up on October 28 as Congress leader DK Shivakumar urged Telangana residents to visit Karnataka and witness the progress and welfare initiatives under the Congress-led state government. 

KTR wasted no time in offering his response. He criticised the Karnataka Congress, asserting that the party had left the state in darkness since coming to power. “You are calling our (Telangana) people to visit Karnataka to see welfare. But the fact is that the farmers of Karnataka are already in Telangana to explain your atrocities in your state. You made your state go bankrupt in less than a year. Telangana’s situation will also be the same if the Congress is voted to power,” KTR had said. 

After this, Krishank and his team travelled to Karnataka to gather first-hand accounts. The BRS documented their testimonials in a series of videos. 

These clips featured farmers expressing concerns about prevalent issues such as electricity and water shortages in Karnataka. The visuals aimed to highlight disparities between the two states. 

Hyderabad vs Bengaluru

One of the more recent manoeuvres by the BRS involved an attempt to juxtapose Hyderabad with Bengaluru. Accusations of political machination have been flying back and forth between the BRS and Karnataka’s Congress government. 

A purported letter attributed to Karnataka deputy chief minister DK Shivakumar, advocating the relocation of an Apple AirPods manufacturing unit from Hyderabad to Bengaluru, triggered a heated exchange. 

The BRS alleged a “huge conspiracy against Hyderabad”, while Shivakumar vehemently denied the letter’s authenticity. 

Subsequently, Rajendra Prasad MN, personal secretary to Shivakumar, filed a complaint with the Vidhana Soudha police, asserting that the signature on the letter was forged and the letterhead used was fraudulent.

The BRS claimed, “The Karnataka Congress government is plotting a major conspiracy against Hyderabad. Karnataka deputy CM DK Shivakumar is orchestrating a grand scheme to shift national and international companies from Hyderabad to Karnataka.” 

Speaking at an event, BRS working president KT Rama Rao cited Shivakumar’s letter to Foxconn as an example of what might transpire for Telangana if chief minister KCR lacked support. 

He warned that Telangana’s governance would be influenced from Delhi via Bengaluru if the people backed the Congress party in the state.

The news about Karnataka trying to wrest the Airpods manufacturing unit from Hyderabad first appeared on a fake website called DeccanHeraldKannada. 

The Deccan Herald newspaper has filed a complaint of impersonation against the website. 

The News Minute found that the domain was registered on November 2, and the story was removed. So far, it has not been possible to find who registered the domain as it has been ‘privacy protected’. However, the Congress has blamed the BRS for concocting the fake story.

“The Congress made the Telangana election all about Karnataka. So we will reply in kind,” said Krishank.

This report has been published as part of the joint NL-TNM Election Fund and is supported by hundreds of readers. Click here to power our ground reports.

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