When it comes to the Telangana statehood issue, the more things change, the more they remain the same. TRS supremo K. Chandrasekhar Rao adopted the path of negotiation and stayed put in Delhi for weeks together. But Congress president Sonia Gandhi refused to grant him an audience. In the meantime, Telangana Joint Action Committee chairman Kodanda Ram has managed to rustle up enough tension around the September 30th Chalo Hyderabad March. The rise of Kodanda Ram Reddy, a Political Science professor in Osmania University, as the voice of Telangana has irked the TRS chief substantially. The cold war between the two has been obviously evident for some time now. While he initially played coy on joining the proposed march, KCR has given the nod for the party's participation in the march. Telangana Congress leaders are facing great pressure to participate in the rally. With the Ganesh immersion festivities likely to extend to the 30th, State Intelligence and police officials are on the edge as violence is feared on Tank Bund that day.
Adding to the drama is a letter by Telugu Desam president Chandrababu Naidu to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh seeking an immediate resolution of the Telangana issue by calling an all-party meeting. Naidu, while not spelling out his own stand on statehood, has blamed the central government's indecisiveness for deteriorating conditions in the state. Naidu says the Congress is teaming up TRS and YSR Congress to hoodwink people. KCR terms the letter "a joke". The TD's own leaders from Rayalaseema and Andhra are wondering why it was necessary for Naidu to write a letter at this stage when nothing was asked of him. Two MLAs in the party, one from Rayalaseema and another from Andhra have already raised the banner of revolt asking Naidu to take back the letter.
When Outlook caught up with Chief Minister Kiran Kumar Reddy during his Indirammabaata yatra in Krishna district, he decided to give this correspondent a geography lesson. As his campaign bus passed through Gudivada, he said, "This is Gudivada. We are passing through NT Rama Rao's birthplace." When asked if the response to his pet programme was as expected, the Chief Minister pointed to waving crowds and smiling faces and said, "Just see their faces and you will know." Kiran Kumar, whose angrezi is much better than his mother tongue, denied taking Telugu lessons in order to improve his oratory. "No, I am not taking any lessons. I only took Telugu lessons when I first became an MLA in 1989," said Kiran Kumar. While that might be the case, the CM is said to have given nightmares to I&PR officials while shooting for a one-minute documentary on the forthcoming Bio-diversity convention. There were 16 cuts in all. The reason being, his Telugu was just not up to the mark.
All That Gas
On the subsidised LPG cylinder issue, Kiran Kumar said that as per his knowledge, the average for households in Andhra Pradesh is 5.2 cylinders. So the six-cylinder limit will not really affect people in AP, he feels. Incidentally, the CM's Indiramma convoy was mostly passing through areas in Krishna district which are traditional TD strongholds. And the tour went off smoothly apart from one or two protests. Is this an indication of TD's waning presence in the district? 2014 will tell all.
Telangana Dur Ast
A letter addressed to KCR, purportedly by a Maoist named Jagan, questions the TRS chief as to what he's been doing in Delhi all these days. The letter has asked why KCR was wasting his time hobnobbing with Congress leaders who've no intentions of granting statehood. This would certainly add to KCR's woes since the Maoist threat was cited as one of the reasons by union home minister Sushil Kumar Shinde as one reason for stalling T-statehood. The TRS had then asserted that there was certainly no threat of a Naxal resurgence if the Telangana demand were granted.
'Telangana? Where is it?'
Deputy Chief Minister Damodar Raja Narasimha has hit out at people stalling statehood to Telangana. He was reacting to Vyalar Ravi's not-so-funny remark on the statehood issue, 'Telangana? Where is it?' Raja Narasimha sought to remind leaders of his party that the Telangana agitation was born out of the pangs of hunger and a heartburn among its people since they've been deprived of justice for long. "Out of 56 years, this state has been ruled by chief ministers hailing from the Seemandhra region for 48 years. Does this not show what kind of injustice has been meted out to the region," questions the furious Deputy CM.
When YSR Congress Jagan Mohan Reddy appeared in court recently in connection with Vanpic land allotment case, he looked dapper in a crisp blue shirt and well-ironed beige trousers. Jagan was smiling throughout and seemed fitter than ever. The Kadapa MP has completed four months in jail and is said to have shown no signs of an emotional draining out. As a special class status prisoner, Jagan has access to some basic comforts like TV, newspapers, magazines, his own toilet and a private cell. Officials say he reads the Bible regularly and has the same confident demeanour as he did when he was outside jail.
Even as the T-storm rages again, Congress MP from Vijayawada Lagadapati Rajagopal says that there is no question of statehood being granted anytime soon. Rajagopal, who is likened to an oracle in AP politics, says, "Even before Congress leader Vyalar Ravi said anything, we (Seemandhra leaders) had predicted that the UPA government will not take any hasty decision." Meanwhile, another Congress MP from Telangana, Madhu Yashki Goud has issued a threat that united state supporters will not be allowed to move freely in Hyderabad.