Free electricity for farmers if non BJP govt comes to power: KCR


Amid the debate over the freebies by the political parties, Telangana Chief Minister K Chandrashekar Rao on Monday announced to provide a “free” power supply to all farmers of the country “if a non-BJP government comes to power” after the 2024 Lok Sabha elections.

The announcement by the Chief Minister came days after the Supreme Court on August 26 referred the freebies case to a three-judge bench while saying that the issue of freebies promised by the political parties during election campaigns requires extensive debate. The top court’s order came on a batch of pleas against freebies promised by political parties. KCR, claiming that a “non-BJP flag” would unfurl in India after the next general elections, said the Opposition will come to power at the Centre.

“After 2024 Lok Sabha elections, we will see non- BJP flag being unfurled in India. Our government will be formed in Delhi. From Nizamabad today, I am announcing free power supply to all the farmers in the country if a non-BJP government comes to power,” said KCR while addressing a rally.

Recently, Supreme Court, while referring the issue of freebies to a three-judge bench, said that it’s 2013 judgment in the Subramaniam Balaji v/s government of Tamil Nadu case on the same issue might need reconsideration.

“The issues raised by parties require an extensive hearing. Certain preliminary hearings need to be determined, such as what is the scope of judicial intervention, whether the appointment of an expert body by the court serves any purpose, etc. Many parties also submitted that judgment in the Subramaniam Balaji case requires reconsideration. The Court in the said case held such practices would not amount to corrupt practices. Looking at the complexity of issues and the prayer to overrule Subramaniam Balaji case, we refer the matters to a three-judge bench,” the bench stated in its order.

Earlier, the top court had asked the Centre why it cannot call for an all-party meeting to determine issues relating to the promise of freebies during election campaigns.

While acknowledging the complex nature of the issue, former CJI NV Ramana had said that the intention of the court was to initiate a wider public debate on the issue, and it is for that purpose the constitution of an expert body was mooted.

During the previous hearing, the apex court said that the issue concerning freebies is complex and there is a need to draw a distinction between welfare schemes and other promises that are made by political parties before elections.

It had said that there is a need for a commission consisting of Niti Aayog, the Finance Commission, ruling and opposition parties, Reserve Bank of India, and other stakeholders to make suggestions on how to control freebies by political parties.