A proposal was seriously being considered by the TJAC to launch a political party before the 2019 Assembly elections, said Telangana Joint Action Committee chairman Prof. Kodandaram. The main aim of the party would be to take on the “undemocratic regime of the TRS”.
Prof Kondandaram, addressing at the extended steering committee meeting of the TJAC said, “This is a proposal which is being considered seriously. If the situation continues in the state, we will have to think seriously about launching an alternative political force.”
The TJAC leaders and activists demanded that a party be launched as a strong alternative to the TRS. The meeting was attended by the leaders and activists in large numbers from all the districts.
Addressing to the media later, Prof Kondandaram said, “We will intensify our agitations against the state government for its failure on agriculture and employment. Farmers suffered huge losses on account of spurious seeds, adverse weather conditions and lack of minimum support price. Students did not get jobs as government has failed to fill lakhs of vacancies.”
To create awareness among the people on these issues, the TRS would hold round-table meetings in all districts, said Mr. Kodandaram. And also apart from this, build a movement against the TRS government.
“The government is misusing police machinery against us. We have not witnessed such a heavy police restrictions even when Seemandhra rulers ruled us. The TRS government is not allowing us to tour districts to take up any programme. We are illegally detained,” Prof. Kodandaram said.
All opposition parties in Telangana on Friday came together for another round of protest over the shifting of ‘Dharna Chowk’, a popular venue for staging protests in Hyderabad.
Leaders of all opposition parties and mass organisations participated in a silent protest at Telangana Martyrs’ Memorial at Gun Park, organised by Telangana Joint Action Committee (TJAC).
TJAC chairman Kodandaram, a bitter critic of Chief Minister K. Chandrasekhar Rao, led the protest and warned the Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) government that if it failed to withdraw the move, a march to ‘Dharna Chowk’ will be organised on May 15.
Kodandaram, who had played a key role in Telangana movement along with Chandrasekhar Rao, alleged that the government was trying to snatch democratic and constitutional rights of the people.
TJAC leader said that for over a month the opposition parties had been raising their voice over the issue but the government was bent on shifting ‘Dharna Chowk’.
Main opposition Congress, Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), Telugu Desam Party (TDP), Communist Party of India (CPI) and Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) declared their support to the proposed march.
State Congress chief Uttam Kumar Reddy said people had hoped that there will be greater freedom and liberty in Telangana state but the government was curbing people’s right to dissent.
The TDP’s Telangana unit President L. Ramna said the party would extend full support to TJAC on the issue.
‘Dharna Chowk’ has been the venue of thousands of protests by political parties, people’s organisations, students’ groups, employees’ unions and others for over two decades.
Chief Minister Chandrasekhar Rao had last month defended the police move to shift ‘Dharna Chowk’ to the city outskirts saying that some parties were deliberately creating problems in the name of protests.
In March, leaders of all opposition parties had come together to meet Governor E.S.L. Narasimhan Rao and submit a memorandum protesting the government’s move.
Telangana Chief Minsiter K Chandrashekar Rao chose silence when facing students, on the other hand tried silencing the Professor Kodandaram. The TJAC chairman along with other leaders who were visiting the Khammam market yard to highlight the problems of the farmers were detained by the police. Police have allegedly said that they were arresting following the orders from their superiors.
Earlier in the day, Kodandaram had to face groups of angry TRS members who raised slogans demanding the professor to leave at Mothkur and Suryapet market yards. The CM has been taking up oppressive measures especially with a section of the state. This is second arrest of the professor in last two months. It’s high time for the TRS government to ease the level of suppression especially of the voices that are questioning them.
Both OU students and the TJAC were all part of the Telangana movement. Even if they don’t get the due credit, at least let them protest peacefully. The relationship with Professor Kodandaram has been bitter for a long time now. However, KCR’s silence at OU centenary celebrations reveals the facts about his souring ties with the student community.
Telangan JAC chairman and university teacher Prof M Kodandarao appears to be dissociating from his mentor and chief minister KCR. There has been speculation about the his future course of action. Some say he is planning a new political outfit with a post-separate state agenda while other say he would launch a mass movement for the time being around issues the TRS government ignored and the issues thrown up by the bifurcation.
In Telangana he is a loner now. Though he still wears the title “JAC chairman” on his sleeves, few take him seriously. Though now and then he raises his voice against the issues like section 8, shifting of Osmania General Hospital etc. they were proven inconsequential. Once a commander of umpteen number of JACs that sprang up in very town, street and village, the soft-spoken political science teacher is now rendered non-entity in Telangana politics as well as administration. He has not been given any role in the so called reconstruction of Telangana. One of the brilliant teachers of Osmania university is retiring next months. The post-retirement oblivion seems to be haunting him.
So, he has chosen a way out to prove that he is still relevant in Telangana. He joined hands with another Professor Yogendra Yadav of New Delhi and participated in his Farmers Rally yesterday. Yadav, after quitting Aam Admi party, floated an outfit ” Swaraj Abhiyan, to fight for a ” Just India”. Talk is that Kodandaram will work under Swaraj Abhiyan banner for some time and work towards cause of farmers.
Many think, all those who are disillusioned with the policies of chief minister K Chandrasekhar Rao would rally around the Osmania Professor and he would again acquire a JAC-like dimension to bring the TRS government to its knees and force it to work for people’s Telangana.
Giving credence to this speculation, prof Kodandaram accused TRS government in Delhi of doing nothing for farmers of nascent state. Interacting with media in national capital, he rubbished the talk that there were no suicides among the farmers of Telangana.
“The estimates of union government say about 800 farmers committed suicides in Telangana. All previous governments are responsible for this tragic situation. Unfortunately, the TRS government also has done nothing to prevent the suicides among the farmers,” the TJAC chairman said.
Prof. M Kodandaram, one of the brilliant professors in Osmania Univesrity, and committed intellectual to social causes, is in wilderness now.
The man, who imparted credibility to the T-movement, when it was in crisis, is directionless, aimless and is confined to the JAC meetings, which are not taken seriously anymore.
TRS president KCR has swept him aside. He is not needed in the so called reconstruction of Telangana. The professor has not been given any significant role in Telangana state for which he sacrificed much. After the achievement of Telangana, sources said, KCR doesn’t want him in streets leading JAC, the right place for the teacher is the class-room .
” How long would he continue in the movement? Doesn’t he want to go back to college and teach lessons?” was what KCR reportedly asked some scribes sometime back when referred to Kodandaram’s position in TS. Now that Prof Kodandaram is superannuating in September, the question is what would the Osmania university teacher do post-retirement?
For long, along with Prof Jaisankar, Kodandarm was ideologue of Telangana agitation, working from behind screens, giving intellectual support to KCR’s agitation. When it was felt that somebody, who is not a member of any political party, should lead the movement to make it broad based, KCR artfully brought Kodandaram into street fight as the convenor of newly created Joint Action Committee. His presence lent credence to movement and electrified it. The JAC almost replaced the TRS. Entire Telangana used to respond to his call for rasta rokhos or Million Marches in Hyderabad. He was arrested and beaten by police. After Jaisankar, he is the only one being referred to as “Kodand Sir” by the youth of the state.
The growing influence of the professor created rift with KCR.
According one version, Kodandaram’s caste Reddy (he never uses the suffix) also plyaed part in consolidation of JAC into a force because Reddys belonging to all parties accepted the leadership of Kodandaram in the form JAC. Post-Telangana, elevation of Prof Kodand (Reddy) would give boost to Reddy politicians and might even become a threat, is said to be the worry of KCR. Result is total elimination of Kodandaram from the political scene.
Kodandaram also chose to remain silent swallowing the insults heaped upon him. He has not been able to raise his voice against any of the demolition- decisions and controversial projects of KCR government. As a professor of politics, he should have led the opposition to the politics behind KCR’s plans to demolish the heritage building of Osmania General Hospital. But, his reaction was not commensurate with his teachings about the T-heritage.
Many believe Prof Kodand would not remain idle after September. What would he do? Would he join TRS? Given his understanding of KCR’s politics, an invitation from TRS is unlikely. Joining Congress or BJP also do not seem a possibility.
Some of his colleagues in the T-movement foresee the prospects of JAC emerging in a new avatar- a non-political forum for all forces- to work as powerful pressure group which can’t be ignored by the KCR’s government while taking decisions that would affect Telangana society lock, stock and barrel.
Kodand, with his Marxist moorings, has been associated with people’s movement in the region for decades. Arguably he is the second most popular leader of Telangana after KCR. We have to wait for a couple of months to see if Kodandaram is a force in peace-time politics too. Or would he choose to remain an arm-chair intellectual, now and then offering “general and inconsequential” opinions on government policies?