IT, Industries and Municipal Administration Minister KT Rama Rao. (Twitter/@MinisterKTR)
Khammam, Hyderabad: BRS working president K.T. Rama Rao on Sunday afternoon said that the Indian cricket team would win the World Cup for a third time, given how “Chief Minister K. Chandrashekar Rao is certain to score a hat-trick in the Telangana state polls”.
Addressing roadshows across the erstwhile undivided Khammam district on Sunday, which coincided with the World Cup finals, the minister, speaking before the match, called on voters to ensure “BRS scores a hundred, just like Virat Kohli” in the upcoming state Assembly elections.
Countering allegations that he was an atheist and disrespected deities, he questioned how he could not be a worshipper of Lord Rama, given that he was named Rama Rao. “I intended to touch the feet of Lord Rama by visiting Bhadrachalam temple but was asked by officials to avoid it during polls. After elections, I will come at leisure and pray peacefully,” he said.
Speaking at a ‘Women Ask KTR’ programme in Hyderabad earlier in the day, Rama Rao said that the BRS was committed to ensuring women’s safety and development.
“We are thinking of giving low-cost loans to help middle and upper-class women to become entrepreneurs, once we are re-elected. Aarogya Mahila is a programme that focuses on women’s health,” he said.
“We are concentrating on the cyber and physical safety of women,” he said, adding that concerns like last-mile connectivity would be addressed wherever possible by providing skywalks that lead directly into offices or setting up ‘hop-on hop-off’ services with CCTV-equipped vehicles.
On a deepfake video of a popular actress going viral, he said, “Politicians are also victims of deepfake videos. Things that we don’t say are also attributed to us. Women face abuse and body shaming in uncouth language. To curb this, we are drafting cybercrime legislation in collaboration with NALSAR.”
“We will face accusations of curbing freedom of expression but there are lines we should not cross in everyday life. You have to draw a line somewhere,” he said.
“Efforts are on to introduce a toll-free helpline service similar to 100, 104 and 108 to address complaints of women like 181 in Mumbai and Delhi, he said. The service in Telangana will address all sorts of complaints, including the often-neglected mental health,” he said.
Asked what was done exclusively for women, Rama Rao said, “Prior to 2014, we used to hear of infants being sold by women or a young woman being married to an old man and even women having to feed their children water that would cause fluorosis, but not anymore. To address this, we provided potable drinking water.”
In healthcare, Rama Rao said institutional deliveries increased from 31 per cent to 61 per cent. “Infant and maternal mortality has come down in a big way while hysterectomies have also come down. Sporting stars from Hyderabad are women, including Sania Mirza, Gutta Jwala, Naina Jaiswal, Nikhat Zareen and Esha Singh. They are all role models worthy of emulation,” he said.
Referring to the women in his life, he said that he learnt a lot from his mother and credited his wife for being patient and putting up with the troubles of his public life.
At the election rallies, he attacked Congress for its failures over the past decades.
He said the Congress leaders were approaching people requesting to give a chance to rule the state again. “In spite of giving 11 chances for the party, the Congress did nothing concrete,” he said.
“After BRS is re-elected, the Sitarama Lift Irrigation Scheme would be inaugurated to supply Godavari River water to villages,” he said.
At an election rally in Bhadrachalam, Rama Rao said a permanent solution would be found to prevent frequent flooding. He also addressed a separate election rally in Aswaraopet.