A war of words has broken out between the ruling Bharat Rashtra Samithi (BRS) and the Congress in Telangana over Pradesh Congress Committee chief A Revanth Reddy’s comment that farmers require just three hours of power supply to irrigate their land.

The ruling party, led by its working president KT Rama Rao, launched a scathing attack on the Congress, its main rival, alleging that it would do away with the free 24-hour power supply if voted to power.

Condemning the ‘anti-farmer’ stance of the Congress, Rao asserted that free electricity was an essential lifeline and the Congress was threatening to sever it. “This reflects the Congress’ malevolent mindset and indifference towards the farming community,” he said.

His party colleagues K Kavitha and Dasoju Shravan, and ministers S Niranjan Reddy, T Harish Rao, Gangula Kamalakar, and Indrakaran Reddy joined in with their condemnation of Reddy’s statement.

The state government allocated ₹12,000 crore for the free power supply scheme, increasing the allocations by 14 per cent. It spent about ₹50,000 crore during 2014-15 and 2021-22. There are about 27 lakh agricultural pumpsets in the State.

Congress denies allegations

The Congress party rubbished the ruling party’s allegations and accused it of taking the PCC president’s comments out of context.

Senior Congress leader and Congress Legislature Party leader Bhatti Vikramarka has refuted the ruling party’s allegations, saying that it was the Congress that had introduced the free 24-hour power supply to farmers in 2004.

“There is no going back. We will continue the scheme,” he said.

Reddy had alleged that the BRS government was not supplying quality power even for 12 hours. “The government is deceiving the farmers by claiming that it is providing power for 24 hours. The power companies are pushed to a debt of ₹60,000 crore.

Reddy, who is on tour in the US, said on Tuesday that over 95 per cent of the farmers hold just three acres or less. “They would require three hours of power to irrigate those three acres. Even if you provide quality power for eight hours, it would do. But they are not getting quality power,” he said during a discussion with a group of NRIs. He alleged that the government was taking kickbacks in the guise of buying power for the free power scheme.

These statements, however, have triggered a row in the state, with BRS leaders alleging that the Congress was against the free power scheme.