From PM photos to hoarding wars, to riots of pink, saffron flags: TRS, BJP one-upmanship game on

From PM photos to hoarding wars, to riots of pink, saffron flags: TRS, BJP one-upmanship game on

A day earlier, Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, who was visiting Telangana, chided a district magistrate by asking what the Centre and the state’s respective shares were in rice supplied to the ration shops. She had also asked why the shop she had visited did not have PM Modi’s photo and asked him to ensure it was put up.

“You wanted pictures of Modi ji, Here you are @nsitharaman ji,” the TRS’ social media convenor M Krishank said while sharing the video featuring cooking gas cylinders with price of Rs 1,105 each that highlighted their rising price.

Criticising Sitharaman, the state’s IT Minister K Taraka Rama Rao, popularly known as KTR, said in a tweet Friday, “I am appalled by the unruly conduct of FM @nsitharaman today with District Magistrate/Collector of Kamareddy. These political histrionics on the street will only demoralise hardworking AIS officers.”

On Saturday, KTR shared a graphic with numbers on the Centre-state finances. He captioned the tweet: “Since our FM is going around lecturing on how “Modi Sarkar” is the Giver. Here are the facts & figures For every Rupee that Telangana contributes to the Nation, we only get back 46 paisa! Madam, time to put up a banner: “Thanks to Telangana” in all BJP states’ at PDS shops.”

The back-and-forth was visible in July this year as well, ahead of the BJP’s national executive meeting in Hyderabad. PM Modi was then in the city for two consecutive days, along with more than 180 party leaders, including Chief Ministers, Cabinet ministers, and other BJP office-bearers. The city was then full of pink (TRS) and saffron (BJP) party flags, and hoardings either in their support or for criticising the other.

In the last week of August, when Union Home Minister Amit Shah visited the Munugode constituency in the Nalgonda district of the state, which is set for a bypoll later this year, another hoarding that said “TadipaarKaunHai” was put up in the city with an image of Shah facing backwards.

In July, the photographs of people in Hyderabad posing in costumes from the show ‘Money Heist’ near banks and railway stations had gone viral. The posters in these people’s hands stated, “We only rob banks. You rob the whole nation. #ByeByeModi”. Similar hoardings were put up across the city.

At the time, taking potshots at PM Modi, Krishank tweeted a photograph of a hoarding advertising “Achhe Din biscuits” – a reference to the BJP’s 2014 election campaign slogan promising good days. The hoarding read: “Modi Ji’s favourite biskit”.

A few days earlier, the BJP placed a hoarding outside its state headquarters in Hyderabad that displayed a countdown for the Chief Minister and TRS supremo, K Chandrashekhar Rao or KCR, to quit, with the tagline “Salu Dora, selavu Dora (enough, sir; goodbye, sir).

Soon afterwards, huge hoardings of PM Modi with the hashtag “Bye Bye Modi” were seen across the state. They were reportedly put up by TRS supporters that questioned Modi over unemployment, demonetisation, pandemic, agrarian crisis, economy, and the Agnipath scheme with the tag line “Salu Modi, sampako Modi’ (Enough, Modi. Don’t kill people, Modi).

At the time, the BJP had come down heavily on the TRS for allegedly misusing government resources to book advertisement slots across Hyderabad in advance to promote its welfare schemes, leaving no space for the saffron party to advertise itself ahead of its national executive meeting.

“The Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation is threatening to issue fines to agencies putting up BJP posters but the TRS has no such restriction,” a BJP member had then said.

Meanwhile, other parties’ leaders have also taken to Twitter to post comments on the latest row between Sitharaman and the TRS camp. “Instead of speaking brusquely with officials in Telangana, PM @narendramodi’s Fin Min would be well-advised to fix: India’s 12 month high #unemployment rate of 8.3%, high #inflation rate, forex reserves declining by USD 3 billion and find JOBS for 1/4 of our youth now unemployed,” TMC MP Derek O’Brien tweeted on Saturday.