Over a year after announcing plans to float a party for mass struggle to achieve separate statehood to Telangana, revolutionary balladeer Gaddar appears all set to wrest the leadership of the movement from K. Chandrasekhara Rao of the Telangana Rashtra Samiti (TRS).
The Telangana movement is poised to take a new turn when the Maoist sympathiser will formally launch the Telangana Praja Front (TPF) in Hyderabad on October 9.
The new outfit is expected to intensify the movement ahead of the Srikrishna Committee's report to the central government on the Telangana issue and wrest the leadership from TRS, which has been spearheading the movement for almost a decade.
At the first meeting in Hyderabad on October 9, Gaddar along with poets, writers and other Telangana activists will decide the TPF's organisational structure.
The Srikrishna Committee, formed by the central government in February to look into the demands for and against a separate Telangana state, is scheduled to submit its report by December 31.
However, Gaddar said that without waiting for the report, his organisation would go to the people to strengthen the movement and exert pressure on the central government to move a bill in parliament for carving out a separate state.
That Gaddar's plans have already created a flutter in TRS circles is evident from the statement by one of its leaders N. Narasimha Reddy that TPF would create confusion among Telangana people and dilute the movement.
KCR, as TRS chief Chandrasekhara Rao is popularly known, has refused to comment on Gaddar's outfit but the TRS cadre is worried over the impact it could have on their political fortunes at a time when the goal of separate state is "nearer".
"It is KCR who has been fighting relentlessly for Telangana for about 10 years and he has almost achieved the goal. The new outfit is aimed at depriving him of the credit," said a TRS leader, who did not want to be named.
Gaddar, whose real name is Gummadi Vithal Rao, has been a bitter critic of KCR and his style of functioning. He decided to launch the front after holding series of consultations with poets, writers, cultural artists, human rights activists, backward class leaders, trade and employee unions and student leaders.
The Front is expected to bring all those who are not happy with KCR. Even the main opposition Telugu Desam Party (TDP) has welcomed Gaddar's move to float the new outfit.
Taking a dig at KCR, Gaddar said the politics revolving only around votes and fasting can't achieve Telangana state.
"Telangana can be achieved only through a mass movement," the balladeer said.
It was after a nine-day fast by KCR in December last year that the central government decided to initiate the process for the formation of Telangana state but constituted the Srikrishna Committee to look into the issue after angry reactions in coastal Andhra and Rayalaseema regions of Andhra Pradesh.
Gaddar, who had actively participated in Telangana movement of 1969, said TPF would not be a mere vote-based party like TRS but would try to achieve its goal through a people's struggle, including a cultural campaign.
After the TRS suffered reverses in last year's elections, the folk artist had apologised to the people of the region for sharing a dais with KCR, BJP leader L.K. Advani and former state home minister T. Devender Goud.
On the debacle of TRS, he said people rejected it because it was only running after votes without a struggle.