Telangana Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao, who completed two years in office last week, is witnessing revolt against his government from his own protégé, Prof M Kodandaram, for adopting what the latter describes as anti-people policies.
For the last couple of days, Kodandaram, chairman of Telangana Joint Action Committee (TJAC), which spearheaded the massive movement for separate state between 2009 and 2014, has been attacking the Telangana Rashtra Samithi government in general and KCR in particular for ignoring the plight of the people, particularly the farmers.
The immediate provocation for Kodandaram was the large scale protest by farmers who were losing lands under the Mallanna Sagar irrigation project in Medak district for the last few days.
The TJAC president said the KCR government had miserably failed to improve the living standards of the people. “If he cannot deliver the goods, let him step down; we will show him how to run the government,” he said, and accused the TRS government of protecting the interests of real estate mafia, contractors and corporate houses.
“What is the difference between the Telangana government and the previous Andhra rulers? You cannot claim to have developed the state by focussing only on Hyderabad,” he said.
The TJAC, which held its steering committee meeting on Wednesday decided to intensify the agitation against the TRS government. “We will stand by the people and fight for their rights. The TJAC will take up wide range of issues like lack of vice-chancellors in various universities, open-cast mining in Singareni coal fields, irregularities in irrigation projects and revival of public sector undertakings which were closed down in the past,” Kodandaram said.
While KCR is yet to react to the TJAC chairman’s allegations, his Cabinet colleagues launched a tirade against the latter, saying he had become a pawn in the hands of opposition parties like the Congress and the TDP.
“The TJAC has lost its relevance after the formation of Telangana and many of its constituents including employees, teachers and workers had already deserted it. When the entire country is praising the KCR government, how can Kodandaram find fault with it? He is fighting for its identity,” said Deputy chief minister Kadiyam Srihari.
Kodandaram pointed out that the TJAC had been fighting for people’s rights and aspirations. “Had we not taken up the cause of the people, we would have wound up the TJAC long ago and merged it with the ruling TRS. We are continuing our fight for the people’s welfare,” he said.
A professor of political science in Osmania University till recently, Kodandaram worked with KCR shoulder-to- shoulder during the movement. However, after TRS came to power in June 2014, KCR sidelined Kodandaram completely as he refused to toe the TRS line, while most of his colleagues in the JAC joined the TRS and got plum posts in the government and the party.