Telangana opposition backs RTC employees, mull shutdown

Hyderabad, Oct 9 (IANS) Telangana’s opposition parties have come together to throw their weight behind the ongoing indefinite strike by the employees of state-owned Telangana State Road Transport Corporation (TSRTC) and are planning to call a state-wide shutdown.

Slamming Chief Minister K. Chandrashekhar Rao for his “dictatorial” action of sacking over 48,000 striking employees, the opposition parties on Wednesday discussed the proposal of calling a state-wide shutdown to show solidarity with the protesting employees, whose indefinite strike entered fifth day.

At the all-party meeting called by Joint Action Committee (JAC) of the TSRTC employee unions, the leaders of the opposition parties said a decision on calling ‘Telangana bandh’ will be taken on Thursday.

Telangana Jana Samithi (TJS) leader M. Kodandaram demanded that the ruling Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) immediately initiate the process to merge the TSRTC with the government. He alleged that there is a conspiracy to sell the TSRTC’s assets and called up on all the opposition parties to join hands to foil this attempt.

Kodandaram, who had played a key role in the movement for statehood to Telangana state, said the time had come for another mass strike. “We appeal to all to come together to save the democracy in the state,” he said.

The leaders decided to meet Governor Tamilisai Soundararajan and submit a memorandum, seeking her intervention to resolve the TSRTC crisis.

Addressing the meeting, Communist Party of India (CPI) state Secretary Chada Venkat Reddy said his party would not accept privatisation of the RTC. He warned that if the government failed to take back its decision, the CPI would be compelled to reconsider its support to the TRS for the Huzurnagar by-election.

The CPI had last week announced its support to TRS for October 21 by-election to Huzurnagar Assembly seat.

JAC leader Ashwathama Reddy said they decided to intensify the protest to press for their demands. He said the employees would stage ‘dharnas’ at RTC depots and take out rallies on Thursday.

Meanwhile, government employees and teachers took out rallies in various parts of the state to express solidarity with the striking RTC employees.

The Congress, the Telugu Desam Party and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) also extended their support to the strike by RTC employees.

Congress leader Gudur Narayana Reddy advised Chandrashekhar Rao to show some serious concern over the inconvenience being faced by nearly one crore commuters due to the ongoing strike and take measures to resolve the crisis.

He alleged that the Chief Minister first aggravated the RTC crisis by not addressing the problems being faced by employees and now he is trying to take advantage of the strike to initiate privatisation.

“KCR’s family is eyeing the RTC properties worth more than Rs 65,000 crore across the state and wants their possession in the name of corporation’s revival plan. The Chief Minister is neither concerned about the inconvenience being caused to nearly one crore commuters nor bothered about fate of over 48,000 employees whom he declared as ‘self-dismissed’. He is creating a situation wherein his family members and friends can easily take over RTC’s valuable properties under the curtains of strike,” Reddy said in a statement.

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