In its desperation to revive itself in the Telengana region, the Telengana Rastra Samithi party (TRS) has started a campaign against “Andhra” dishes. The party got a drubbing in the recent bypolls to 17 Assembly and four Lok Sabha seats there.
The word “Andhra” is anathema to sizeable sections of people in Telengana and by targeting eateries with the word “Andhra” on their nameplates or selling dishes specific to Sarkars (other name for Andhra) TRS wants to whip up public sentiment and harness public anger.
The campaign was launched in the district headquarters of Sangareddy town on Sunday. TRS leaders and workers went around, asking restaurants to remove hoardings proclaiming “Andhra meals” within a week, and take food items associated with the region such as idli, sambhar, pesarattu, and so on off their menu.
TRS Member of the Legislative Committee R. Satyanarayana, who led the campaign, called it a “counseling programme” to make hoteliers respect the cultural sentiments of local people. “Why should they force Andhra meals on the people of Telengana?” he asked.
Eatery owners have been warned of “consequences” if they fail to meet the week’s deadline. Irked by the food cleansing drive, leaders of other parties in the Andhra region have appealed to the government to take stringent action against TRS activists.