Hyderabad: Telangana Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao (KCR) was harsh in his criticism of budget proposals presented by Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitaraman in Parliament on Tuesday. He ridiculed Prime Minister Narendra Modi and attacked him for playing communal card to divide the society for electoral gains. KCR made fun of PM’s dress choices saying it will not help the development of the country. This virulent attack was particularly appalling when one considers the fact that both PM and CM are scheduled to travel by the same helicopter from Shamshabad to Mutchintal on Saturday where Modi would inaugurate the Ramanuja statue complex.
There is nothing wrong in KCR criticizing the budget proposals. Almost all States are unhappy since there is nothing for them. Even a gentleman CM Naveen Patnaik expressed his resentment in a polite way. But the language used by KCR and the frontal attack made against the PM are certainly objectionable. Calling the union government mindless is uncalled for.
Most important objection is KCR’s call for a new constitution. One can understand the CM’s flaying of the Centre for depriving the States of their autonomy and for excessive centralization in all the areas. He is entitled even to say that the concurrent list should be done away with. Even a call from him to strengthen federal structure by amending the constitution would have been proper. But his demand for a new constitution and suggestion to nominate a constituent assembly is atrocious. Had he known about the lengthy and serious deliberations that went into making the constitution, he would not have made that comment. He should have noted what Ambedkar said about the concurrent list. By making such a strange demand, KCR has made BR Ambedkar, Jawaharlal Nehru, Vallabh bhai Patel, Babu Rajendra Prasad and other highly respected members of the constituent assembly irrelevant. It shows his irreverence for the makers of the constitution. He is free to play a role on the national stage. He can find fault with the policies and priorities of the BJP-led NDA government. But he should not cross the limits of dignified political engagement. He should observe restraint in his choice of language and idiom.
The constitution has been amended 115 times so far. It can be amended any number of times. It can even be reviewed. A review commission was appointed by Vajpayee government in 2000 under the chairmanship of Justice M.N. Venkatachalaiah in which Justice Jeevan Reddy was a member. Justice Punnayya was another Telugu judge on the commission. Justice Sarkaria, legal luminaries such as Soli Sorabjee, Parasaran were members. KCR could have asked for appointment of a fresh review commission to study centre-state relations once again in the light of Modi government’s overreach. Asking for a new constitution is not tenable.