Hyderabad: Opposition parties staged a massive rally at Sarooranagar stadium in Hyderabad on Wednesday in support of transport workers who have been on a strike in the state since October 5.
Thousands of people, including union members and transport employees and their family members, came to attend the rally, even as traffic came to a standstill on LB Nagar and Saroornagar stretch.
Hours after the high court slammed the K Chandrashekhar Rao-led government and transport unions for failing to reach a middle ground over the employees’ demands and bringing an end to the agitation that entered its 26th day on Wednesday, functionaries of political parties like the BJP and CPI said the administration was deliberately not engaging with the protestors.
While calling for the Centre’s intervention, they hit out at the Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TSR) government for its undemocratic handling of the situation and sacking about 48,000 transport workers for participating in the strike.
The main demand of the employees is a merger of the Telangana State Road Transport Corporation (TSRTC) with the government. Besides, they are seeking a salary hike and maternity leave for women.
Addressing the rally, titled ‘Sakalajanula Samara Bheri’, Congress MP Revanth Reddy, sought to know from the government why the merger demand was not acceptable to the government and why was the TSRTC not receiving its due subsidies and arrears.
CPI leader Ch Venkat Reddy said the chief minister, who is also known as KCR, was acting like a dictator and had failed to end the weeks-old impasse that has led to immense harassment of citizens.
“KCR is ignoring the TSRTC provides services to at least one crore people. Is the TRS planning to privatise the corporation?” he said, while demanding intervention of the Centre to resolve the crisis.
BJP Leader and former MP Vivek also called the chief minister a dictator who refused to hold talks with the transport employees over their demands. Telangana Jana Samithi president M Kodandaram warned of an even bigger protest against the state government if it failed to end the impasse.
The convenor of the Joint Action Committee (JAC) of the trade unions, Ashwathama Reddy, said the TSRTC workers had extended their whole-hearted support to Rao during the statehood demand and didn’t deserve the treatment they were being meted out at present. He urged the workers to carry on with their agitation till their demands were met.
Another JAC leader, Raja Reddy, slammed the chief minister for threatening to shut down all the unions.
Meanwhile, Rao met Transport Minister P Ajay Kumar and TSRTC Managing Director (in-charge) and discussed the need to make alternative arrangement to deal with the stalemate and hire private buses in the wake of the court order.