Prime Minister Narendra Modi called Telangana Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao this morning to wish him on his birthday. Mr Rao, or KCR, thanked the PM and “nothing else was discussed”, sources in the Chief Minister’s Office told NDTV.
This is their first interaction after KCR skipped meeting or welcoming PM Modi when he came to Hyderabad on February 5 to launch a statue of Saint Ramanujacharya. The Chief Minister had cited health reasons.
Birthday wishes to Telangana CM Shri KCR Garu. Praying for his long and healthy life. @TelanganaCMO
— Narendra Modi (@narendramodi) February 17, 2022
In recent weeks, KCR has excoriated the Prime Minister and the BJP government multiple times, even urging people to “throw the BJP into the Bay of Bengal”.
His attacks on PM Modi have been far more trenchant, even personal.
In one of his strongest critiques of PM Modi, KCR remarked to reporters that he “dressed for elections”.
“If it is election time, he has to grow a beard and appear like Rabindranath Tagore. Arrey baap re. If it is Tamil Nadu, he must wear a lungi (sic), what is this?…What does the country get with these kind of gimmicks, what does the country get? If it is the Punjab election, he will wear a pagdi (turban). In Manipur, it will be a Manipuri cap, in Uttarakhand, it will be another topi (cap), how many caps like this?” he had told reporters just before the PM’s visit to Hyderabad.
Tamil Nadu Chief Minister MK Stalin also phoned to greet his Telangana counterpart on his birthday.
The two Chief Ministers have been bonding of late over their common agenda of gathering opposition forces against the BJP for the 2024 national election.
In December, KCR met Mr Stalin in Chennai. Also present were their families, including their sons, both politicians. There were reports that they discussed the possibility of a grouping that could take on the BJP in 2024.
KCR has also been invited to lunch on Sunday by Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray, whose Shiv Sena broke off decades-old ties with the BJP in 2019.
A meeting with Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee is also expected soon. At a press conference on February 13, KCR said Mamata Banerjee had called him and said she would come to Hyderabad to meet him, “aap mujhe dosa khilayiye (please treat me to dosa)”.
Before the 2019 election, KCR had visited Tamil Nadu to meet Stalin; Odisha to meet Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik; and West Bengal to meet Mamata Banerjee. Those efforts did not yield any political results but the regional parties look eager to give it another shot.
With inputs from NDTV