Fissures in Telangana camp out in the open
At a time when the movement for a separate Telangana state appears to be entering a decisive phase, the differences among its protagonists have come out in the open.
The Telangana Joint Action Committee (JAC) and the Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) are at loggerheads, it became clear during the Telangana march here last Sunday. The supporters of a separate state within the ruling Congress too have divided into two groups.
With TRS chief K. Chandrasekhara Rao returning empty-handed despite camping in New Delhi for nearly a month, a section of JAC leaders feel they stand vindicated. On the other hand, TRS is reportedly mulling the idea of severing its ties with JAC to chart out its own course.
KCR, as the TRS leader is popularly known, was not very keen when JAC, comprising various political and non-political groups seeking a Telangana state, proposed the idea of a Telangana march two months ago.
The MP from Mahabubnagar left for New Delhi Sep 5 to hold talks with Congress leaders even as JAC was gearing up to organise the march.
With several rounds of talks with the Congress' central leaders failing to yield any assurance, KCR backed the Telangana march at the eleventh hour and that too after the government granted permission to it, bowing to the pressure from its own ministers from Telangana.
Though JAC convenor M. Kodandaram maintained that there were no differences with KCR, some of the constituents of the JAC openly criticised TRS chief for remaining in New Delhi despite Congress leaders ruling out statehood to Telangana and some of them even ridiculing the demand.
With the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), the Communist Party of India (CPI) and others mobilising people for the march, TRS too plunged into the preparations. TRS leaders including KCR's son K. Tarakarama Rao and daughter K. Kavitha participated in the march.
Just when everyone was thinking that JAC and TRS had ironed out their differences, some of the speeches delivered during the march widened the chasm.
Vimalakka, a left-wing leader, taunted KCR by her remark that Telangana can't be achieved by touching the feet of Congress leaders in Delhi. Unhappy over not being invited on the dais, the TRS leaders left the venue in a huff.
In another indication that all is not well, JAC leaders met leaders of the BJP, CPI and others to thank them for making the march a huge success but did not call on KCR, who returned to Hyderabad on Wednesday.
Differences had first cropped up between JAC and TRS when the former backed the BJP in the by-election to the Mahabubnagar assembly seat in March this year.
The two also differed on the strategy to achieve a separate state. While JAC is in favour of agitation on streets, TRS prefers lobbying in Delhi with its offer to merge with the Congress if the latter agrees to the creation of a separate state.
KCR, who had taken the lead in floating JAC in 2010, is unhappy with Kodandaram for taking unilateral decisions. According to TRS sources, KCR is confident that the central government would make a positive announcement by the month-end.
The Telangana camp in the Congress is also divided.
Eight MPs from the region launched a bitter attack on Chief Minister N. Kiran Kumar Reddy for arresting them when they reached his camp office to meet him over the arrests of people coming to Hyderabad for the Telangana march. The MPs are also angry over his "anti-Telangana" statements.
Ministers and legislators from Telangana loyal to the chief minister launched a counter attack, even sending a letter complaining against these MPs to the party's central leadership.
(Mohammed Shafeeq can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org)