Hyderabad, Oct 15: Is Telangana Chief Minister K. Chandrasekhar Rao afraid of Telangana Joint Action Committee (TJAC) chairman M. Kodandaram and if yes why?
The question is being debated in the political circles of Telangana for quite some time but the intensity of this debate increased in the wake of the recent bitter attack by KCR on Kodandaram, who was his ally in the movement for separate Telangana state.
KCR went all out to target Kodandaram, describing him as a ‘small fellow’. The scathing attack came after the victory of TRS affiliated union in Singareni elections.
The provocation for the attack was Kodandaram’s active participation in the poll campaign on behalf of Congress, Telugu Desam Party and Communist Party of India, who unitedly fought the elections.
Though TRS affiliated union won nine out of 11 divisions, the statistics show it managed to scrape through. Its margin of victory has in fact come down compared to 2012 elections.
At his marathon press conference, the Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) chief hit out at Kodandaram with all guns blazing. “We all know the dirty politics played by Kodandaram. His actions ruined prospects of Congress party in Telangana,” he said.
Describing TJAC chief as a ‘small fellow’, KCR said that he overestimates himself. “He feels that TJAC survived because of him but fails to realise that there are thousands of people moulded by me in the process of achieving separate statehood,” he said.
Kodandaram played an active role in the Telangana struggle for separate statehood as the head of the TJAC and was one of the biggest supporters of KCR. Today, he is considered as the most vocal critic of the TRS chief.
“It was me who set up the TJAC. But now Kodandaram is spewing venom on our government. He is working for the Congress,” alleged the chief minister
KCR also took a jibe at Kodandaram saying he could not win even a sarpanch election.
“Where is the need for him to continue TJAC when Telangana state was achieved. He is using TJAC as a mask. If he wants to do politics, let him join any party and take on the TRS directly. He has a grudge against the TRS and me and is making cheap comments every day,” said KCR
Last month, KCR had called Kodandaram brainless. “Who is he. What position does he hold. Does he have a brain. I don’t answer irrational comments,” he had remarked
TJAC leader hit back at KCR, saying he was showing dictatorial tendencies and resorting to personal attacks rather than responding to questions raised by TJAC.
“Governance is in the hands of one family, which was not the objective or aim of the statehood movement. It is very evident that the CM does not like it if anyone questions him. We wanted a democratic Telangana state not the autocratic type of functioning,” said Kodandaram
He alleged that KCR was turning the state into ‘Appula Telangana’ by borrowing over Rs.2 lakh crore in loans.
The former professor targeted KCR for building a new house cum camp office and for not visiting the state secretariat. He alleged that neither TRS party men nor the general public get an appointment with the chief minister.
A week after this war of words, Kodandaram was arrested on Oct 14 when he was heading to Jangaon to participate in ‘Amarula spoorthi yatra’ (martyrs’ inspiration tour).
Several workers of TJAC were detained by police in Jangaon. Kodandaram met Home Minister N. Narasimha Reddy in Hyderabad to complain but later he himself was arrested when he was on his way to Jangaon.
Kodandaram has been arrested by the police on several occasions for undertaking yatra and for trying to address public meetings on issues like unemployment and compensation to farmers and others affected by irrigation projects.
He termed the arrest as ridiculous. He said that the yatra is intended to protect democratic values and remind the government that it is going in the wrong direction, forgetting the very inspiration of the Telangana movement, expectations of people and aspiration of martyrs.
Kodandaram is determined to continue his journey. Political observers say the way he is taking on the government, he can become the face of the opposition. With the main opposition Congress remaining a divided house and TDP getting weakened due to defection of its top leaders to TRS, Kodandaram could emerge as the most formidable force to take on the government.
With two years left for the next elections, TRS leaders admit in private that Kodandaram could pose the biggest challenge to the party and the leadership of KCR.