Is Telangana Governor Tamilisai opposing Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s programmes?

Dr Tamilisai Soundararajan landed in a fresh controversy with her cryptic remarks during her Republic Day speech

Is Telangana Governor Tamilisai opposing Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s programmes

HYDERABAD: Telangana Governor Dr Tamilisai Soundararajan on Thursday landed in a fresh controversy with her cryptic remarks during her Republic Day speech, prompting Netizens to wonder if she was bitterly opposed to Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s pet schemes like Central Vista to build a new Parliament and administrative complex.

During her speech at Raj Bhavan soon after hoisting the Tri-colour on India’s 74th Republic Day, Dr Tamilisai said that nation-building, and not new buildings, amounts to development. “New buildings are not for development. But nation-building is for development,” she quipped.

Her remark not only created quite a buzz on social media platforms but even left many of the Netizens with a sense of bewilderment. Some of them were quick to relate her statement to Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s ambitious Parliament redevelopment project, Central Vista. They wondered if the Telangana Governor was voicing her opinion against the project and hence fired her salvos at the NDA government’s extravagance in grounding the project.

The Narendra Modi Government at the Centre announced the redevelopment project in 2019 to change the face of India’s ‘power corridor’.

The Central Vista plan, which is actively being grounded, envisages the construction of a new Parliament and residences of Vice-President and Prime Minister besides 10 building blocks which will house all Union ministries and departments.

Being taken up by the Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs, the Central Vista aims to revamp the 86-acre area in Lutyens’ Delhi which flaunts iconic edifices such as South and North blocks of Central Secretariat, Parliament House and Rashtrapati Bhavan.

Considered to be the pet project of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Central Vista is believed to cost the country’s exchequer a whopping Rs 13,450 crore, as per the most recent estimates. When the project was announced in 2019, it was perceived to cost only about Rs 869 crores. The NDA government aims to have the Central Vista ready by 2024.

Dr Tamilisai Soundarajan’s observations – while being an appointee of the same NDA Government – on spending astronomical sums of tax-payers’ money on new buildings is being seen as a stinging indictment of the Narendra Modi regime’s lavish initiative.

In fact, the Governor’s comments not only sparked an instant debate on the issue on social media but even found some support from the most unlikely quarters.

Kalvakuntla Kavitha, the BRS MLC in Telangana, tweeted in endorsement of the Governor’s remarks while tagging the pictures of the Central Vista project.

She thanked the Governor for echoing the sentiments already expressed in public domain by Telangana Chief Minister K Chandrashekar Rao (KCR).

“Choosing (a) country’s infrastructure over central vista during (the) pandemic, is what we demanded.

Choosing farmers, labourers, unemployed youth over focusing on wealth generation for a few is exactly what we have been fighting for.

Thank you for echoing the vision of CM KCR Garu,” Kavitha’s tweet read.

Dr Tamilisai Soundararajan is known for her outspoken public demeanour, which she displayed unabashedly on several occasions. But the Governor taking on the very regime (NDA) that has appointed her and questioning its policies is unheard of and it remains to be seen how the Union Government will prefer to gulp down this bitter pill.

Governor and her ‘Raj Bhavan parivar’ publicity

On a different note, Telangana Governor Dr Tamilisai Soundararajan is also hogging the limelight for yet another unique distinction. A few flex posters that sprang up in the vicinity of Raj Bhavan in Somajiguda make her worthy of this feat.

Coming in the name of ‘Raj Bhavan Parivar’ and in the garb of India’s 74th Republic Day, the flex banner prominently features a giant image of the Governor, trailed by India’s iconic leaders like Sardar Vallabbhai Patel on one side. Pictured on the other side are India’s current crop of leaders, President Draupadi Murmu and Prime Minister Narendra Modi. And tailing them was Telangana BJP leader and Union Tourism Minister G Kishan Reddy.

Then, the flex banner features a big-size image of one Rajesh B Yadav, ‘representing’ the Raj Bhavan Parivar, as claimed on the poster. While the sponsor of the poster is being simply pardoned for his effort as it is a common practice in this part of the world, the flex banner is raising many an eyebrow from the general public for a different reason.

The attempt is being viewed as unprecedented since there were no instances in the past when a Governor was seen figuring prominently at the centre of a private publicity blitz. The flex banners have already instigated a whispered talk that Dr Tamilisai Soundararajan was perhaps the first of her elite league to foster this new culture of private publicity, for which the venerated precincts of Raj Bhavan steadfastly remained off-limits all this long.

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