27 July, 2021

A State Under The Bus

As a transport strike strands Telangana, the CM digs heels

Photograph by PTI
A State Under The Bus

Politics often throws up ­peculiar predicaments—nobody would agree more than Telan­gana chief minister K. Chandrasekhara Rao. He led a protracted mass movement to carve out the state from Andhra Pradesh in 2014, but less than five years after taking charge as the first CM of Telan­gana, KCR is facing his toughest challenge yet—an indefinite strike by the 50,000-odd employees of the Road Transport Corporation, an aut­onomous entity on the government’s watch. The hartal has put the entire fleet of state-run buses off the roads. But, instead of taking a conciliatory stand, KCR has been reportedly refusing to listen to the ­demands of the striking staff. The transport employees demand pay par­ity with state government emp­loyees and health ­insurance among other benefits. Also, more than 50,000 Ola and Uber cab drivers joined the strike ­demanding regularisation of the ride-hailing industry.

The result is that KCR’s popularity has taken a severe beating since the strike began on October 5, with lakhs of commuters left...

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