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The war of words between the ruling parties at the Centre and the State further intensified on Monday when the Chief Minister K Chandrashekhar Rao launched a no-holds-barred verbal assault on what he termed as best examples of double speak from the ruling BJP and likened it to a party ‘that kills farmers’. On the other side, the BJP fielded the Union Tourism minister G Kishan Reddy who surprisingly made contradictory statements about paddy procurement by Centre happening as usual.

At a post-cabinet meeting press conference, Chief Minister K Chandrashekhar Rao went ballistic. It was nothing short of declaring an all out war against the Centre for its refusal to declare annual paddy procurement targets and also purchase parboiled rice during Yasangi (Rabi) season. Rao, who was in an expansive mood, spoke at length to expose what he termed as “doublespeak” by the Centre as well as the State BJP leaders on paddy procurement. He challenged the Union Minister Kishan Reddy for an open debate on the issue. “Kishan Reddy should either get an assurance from the Central government to purchase entire paddy yield from the State or apologise to farmers”, Rao thundered.

Accusing the BJP government of making contradictory claims leading to confusion among farmers, the Chief Minister slammed the Union government for its anti-farmer and anti-poor policies. He said the Union government was trying to blame the States for its failures to cover up its inefficiencies. “Rather than owning up the responsibility of food grains procurement, food storage, security and public distribution system, the Centre is running away from its social responsibility and refusing to purchase rice from Telangana,” he said.

He asserted that the Central government was responsible for procurement of paddy or wheat through Food Corporation of India (FCI) and the State governments would facilitate the same by establishing the paddy procurement centres. But the Union government as well as the BJP Telangana leaders were unnecessarily creating a ruckus on the issue.

Accusing the BJP-led government at the Centre for spreading false propaganda to save itself from people’s ire, Chandrashekhar Rao argued that the BJP was resorting to cheap and bankrupt politics. “I have never seen such bankrupt politics by a political party in the past and doubt it in future as well. The Centre should not behave like a retailer as public distribution system rice and food security are its responsibilities. If needed, it must spend Rs 30,000-40,000 crore from its treasury and come to the rescue of farmers in the State,” he added.

If there are surplus stocks available with the Union government, the Chief Minister suggested that the Centre must exercise its power and dispose of the additional quantity rice. He pointed out that during the Modi government’s regime, India’s global ranking in Global Hunger Index rose from 96 in 2016 to 101 in 2021.

He said while the Union Minister Piyush Goyal refused to purchase parboiled, the State BJP leaders including Union Minister Kishan Reddy claimed that the Central government did not refuse to purchase rice from Telangana. “The BJP leaders should be ashamed of themselves for blaming the State government on paddy procurement. They do not understand that due to its agro-climatic conditions, Telangana State can produce only parboiled rice during the Yasangi season. If Kishan Reddy has any shame, he must fight for the interests of the State as well as farmers,” he advised.

The Chief Minister demanded that if Prime Minister Narendra Modi was farmer-friendly as claimed by Kishan Reddy, why the Centre was not procuring the rice stocks available in Telangana. The BJP leaders keep claiming that the Centre will procure entire paddy, but even fails to clarify on the quantity of raw rice that it would be purchase even during Kharif season.
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