01 April Saturday

"People Who Vowed To Serve The Imperial Crown Rule Our Country Today" ; Read CM's Full Speech at Khammam Here

Web Desk‌Updated: Wednesday Jan 18, 2023

CM Speech at  
Khammam Public Meeting

This mammoth rally is being held at a time when the basic tenets of our Constitution are facing a series of threats from the people who are at the helm of affairs at the Centre. At the outset, I congratulate the Chief Minister of Telangana for taking the initiative to have this sort of a people's movement and to involve the likeminded CMs and leaders of various States in this great endeavour, meant for the future of the people of this country.

On this very same day, a newly built collectorate for the district of Khammam and the second phase of Kanti Velugu, the universal eye screening programme, organised by the State Government of Telangana, have been inaugurated. This needs special mention, because through them, at one stroke itself, the State Government is improving governance as well as public services so as to better the lives of the people of Telangana. Let me state that Kerala and its people are with the State Government of Telangana in all their pro-people initiatives.

I have come to understand that decentralisation of governance has been a hallmark of KCR garu's administration. During the tenure of his government, collectorates have become state of the art Integrated District Office Complexes. All district departments are co-located in them for the convenience of people. And, as far as the Kanti Velugu programme goes, no such mass eye testing programme has been conducted in the history of our country. Kanti Velugu means light for the eyes or a torch light showing the path. Today with this public meeting, we are showing the path forward for the nation.

It is a matter of great pride to once again be here in Telangana, the land of people's struggles. It is the heroic struggle of the peasants of Telangana in the late 1940s, which placed the issue of land reforms on the agenda of the country. Several such people's struggles taking up diverse issues, were waged as part of our glorious national movement. It is subsequent to centuries' long such struggles that our country won its freedom from the colonisers.

However, today we have a peculiar situation in which a political formation that was not part of our national freedom struggle is in power in the country. The followers of those who tendered unconditional apologies to the colonisers and promised to serve the imperial crown are at the helm of affairs today. They have been and remain antagonistic to the values of our anti colonial struggle. Ideas such as secularism, democracy, federal structure, social justice and equality were championed through it and subsequently, they were included in India's Constitution, so as to uphold the values championed by our freedom struggle.

Since those in power now were not part of our collective struggles then, they do not know the values on which India has been built as a sovereign, democratic, republic. So they seek to alter the basic structures on which our modern nation has been built, even as they call for celebrations such as 'Azadi ka Amrit Mahotsav', to commemorate the 75th anniversary of India's independence. Amidst the glam and glitter of these celebrations, they seek to undo the very foundations of our country, our democracy and our Constitution.

Our Constitution starts with the Preamble, in which we have enshrined the basic values that we uphold as Indians; sovereign, socialist, secular, democratic, republic, justice, liberty, equality and fraternity. By signing various international defence agreements, they go against the concept of sovereignty. By allowing the concentration of wealth through consistent appeasement of corporates, they go against the concept of socialism. By seeking to replace parliamentary democracy with presidential form of governance, they go against the concept of democracy. By enacting laws which divide the people on communal lines, as in the case of the Citizenship Amendment Act, they thwart the concept of secularism.

After the Preamble comes Part I, in which we define India. It states, 'India, that is Bharat, shall be a Union of States.' The States are the basic units of India, our country. It is the Union of States that creates India, our country. That is why India has a federal structure. Yet, those in power think that we are a unitary State. We need to remember that their predecessors had promised to declare India as a Unitary State, in their manifesto published in the run up to the fourth general election held in India, in 1967.

The Union Government is consciously trying to destroy the country's federal structure. Repeatedly, laws are being enacted by the Parliament on subjects in the State List in the Constitution, be it law and order, agriculture, cooperation, power or so on. Bills that infringe upon the rights of the States are being enacted into laws even without seeking the opinion of State Governments. Even while entering into international agreements that affect the States, the Union Government does not inform State Governments, let alone seek their consent. Slogans such as 'One Nation One Tax', 'One Nation One Uniform', 'One Nation One Election' are all attacks on federal structure.

When States try to mobilise resources through additional alternative sources, the Union intervenes and sabotages such moves. On the one hand, the right to avail loan is curbed, and on the other, the additional resources are sealed. Along with this, the funds that are made available to the State by the Constitution too are denied. Such attacks are most acute in the States that are ruled by Governments that are opposed to the BJP-RSS combine ruling the Union. We are seeing it in Telangana, as well as in Kerala.

Attacks against the States' rights and powers are being carried out even by politically misusing the office of Governor. Widespread efforts are on to take control of the higher education sector through the Governors, in their capacity as Chancellors. Assent to legislations that have been enacted by the State Legislatures are being withheld. Such affronts on the supremacy of State Legislatures weaken not just our federal structure, but even our democracy too. Democracy should be protected, if the values that we fought for are to be secured. We do not have any option, but to resist these moves more unitedly.

The weakening of our parliamentary democracy is evident in the way in which our parliamentary norms and precedents are being bulldozed. Bills are being passed without adequate discussions or calling for division in the Parliament, and this weakens our parliamentary democracy. All ethics and norms of democracy are being violated. Governments that have come to power in the States by winning a majority in the assembly elections are being toppled through horse trading. Such unethical efforts to form Governments in the States weaken the very foundations of our democracy, which is based on a multi-party system. Such a multi-party system is essential, if we are to preserve and promote our diversities, while remaining united as one.

Unity in diversity is the most cherished of India's ideals. It is what has defined us as a nation, right from the days of our freedom struggle. India's varied languages are the expressions of our diversities. Our mother tongues are part of our cultural identities. However, efforts are on to portray Hindi as the national language, while sidelining all our native languages - be it Telugu, or Tamil, or Kannada, or Malayalam, or Bengali, or Odiya, or Assamese, or Punjabi, or Urdu, or Gujarati, or Kashmiri and so on. Imposing Hindi by doing away with our mother tongues will affect the integrity of the nation.

Even the independence of our judiciary is being attacked. The statement of the Law Minister to the effect that the Union Government should have a decisive say in the appointment of judges goes to prove that the BJP Government is hell bent on destroying judicial autonomy and to subvert the judiciary into a nominated body of the Union Government. The Chief Justice himself has resisted the move and it is commendable that the judiciary in general and the Supreme Court in particular have taken a firm stand, keeping the spirit of the independence of judiciary high!

Not merely members of the Union Cabinet, but even their nominees are trying to meddle with the autonomy of the judiciary. Last week, the Vice President attacked the Supreme Court for striking down the NJAC Act of 2015. He even went on to say that he does not agree with the restriction imposed by the Supreme Court, which ensures that the parliament cannot amend the 'basic structure' of the Constitution. It is rather unfortunate that even the highest offices such as the Vice President, are making certain remarks that go against the Constitution and its spirit.

India's identity as a democratic and secular country was moulded in the fire of our anti colonial struggle. The concept of India that is inclusive of different languages and cultures emerged during our national movement. Right now, these very characteristics of India are under a grave threat. The threat is posed by the present generation of those who were sycophants of the empire and betrayers of our struggles. It was those betrayers who murdered the father of our nation. Gandhiji, a practicing Hindu, was killed by the proponents of Hindutva. That is ample proof that Hindutva is not the same as, or even related to Hinduism, the religion. Resorting to Hindutva, efforts are on to create communal polarisation in the country.

By creating polarisation, a last ditch effort is being made to diffuse the public anger against the misplaced policies of the Union Government. The fallout of such anti-people policies are there all around us. Public Sector Enterprises which are the wealth of the nation are being sold off. In the last budget alone, Rs. 65,000 crores was sought to be raised through their sale. They say that they do not have money to provide relief to the ordinary people. But, they have written off corporate loans, to the tune of Rs. 11 lakh crores in the last five years alone. This amount would have sufficed to ensure food security to the entire people of the nation. The MGNREGS, envisaged by the Left as a scheme to aid the rural population in their distress is being scuttled. Allocation for it and work days under it are repeatedly being cut down.

The country's development is in doldrums. Figures denote that GDP growth has declined from 7.4% to 4.7%. Industrial growth has plummeted from 2.2% to 0.8%. Infrastructure sector has declined from 19.4% to 9.8%. With regard to foreign exchange reserves too, the country is headed for trouble. Our FOREX reserves have shrunk from 642.2 billion in 2021 to 528.37 billion USD last October. The constant rise of petroleum prices has pushed people's lives into misery. All this has made life extremely difficult for the common man. There is a sharp increase in hunger and poverty. In the Global Hunger Index, we are 107th among 121 nations around the world. 80% of the people pushed into poverty because of Covid, are in India. Imposition of GST on essential articles has spiked price rise. Last year India's wholesale inflation has touched a three decade high. Price rise is as high as 39%.

Even amidst such dire circumstances, welfare measures for the poor are being denied. Atrocities are being committed against minorities, women, SCs and STs. The idea of equality is given a go by. Laws such as the CAA which seek to alter our secular polity into a religious state are being introduced.

The main issues of the ordinary and the poor are related to their livelihoods. To create better living conditions we need to forge the unity of the ordinary and the poor. People's unity has to emerge against the communal agenda that seeks to divide us.

It is our duty to resist the backward march of our nation. As far as Kerala goes, we are resisting both communalism and neoliberalism, which are pushing our people into miseries. We are ensuring development and welfare in a communal tension free atmosphere so that our people can enjoy the fruits of progress and lead peaceful lives. I hope that today in Khammam, the land of people's resistances, we will have the beginning of a new resistance. A resistance to secure the ideals that we fought for in our freedom struggle. A resistance to protect our secularism, our democracy, our Constitution and thereby our nation.

I conclude by once again extending greetings to all of you gathered here. Thank you."