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'Centre has backstabbed the people of Telangana'

Last updated on: January 30, 2013 13:54 IST

'Centre has backstabbed the people of Telangana'

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Vicky Nanjappa

The Telangana Rashtra Samithi, which has been spearheading the movement for a separate state, has decided not to buckle down to the 'dilly-dallying tactics' of the Union government. The party terms the indecisiveness of the Union government on the Telangana issue as the biggest betrayal.

TRS leader K T Rama Rao, son of party chief K Chandrasekhar Rao, says that the people of Telangana have been back-stabbed. In this interview with rediff.com's Vicky Nanjappa, Rao says that the day Telangana is formed the industrialists (read aides of Jaganmohan Reddy) who have been influencing the Congress for their selfish ends will find themselves in a cell next to the jailed YSR Congress chief. He also says that a merger of the Congress and the TRS will take place only once the Union government announces a separate Telangana.

What are your reactions to the latest stance of the Union government on Telangana?

They have been delaying the Telangana announcement since 2004. The Congress has given a lot of assurances in the past, but never lived up to it. It is a betrayal and they have backstabbed the people of Telangana yet again.

Both Pranab Mukherjee and P Chidambaram had committed in Parliament that Telangana will be formed on December 10, 2009. Today they have backtracked. When it comes to the Lokpal bill, they say that Parliament is supreme, and where Telangana is concerned the opinion of vested interests is what matters to them. This duplicity and double standards will stand exposed if they do not take a decision.

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Image: Pro-Telangana students clash with police during a protest at Hyderabad (Inset) K T Rama Rao
Photographs: SnapsIndia

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'Our faith in democracy is slowly vanishing'

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It was the TRS which was in alliance with the Congress. How did you trust them back then?

We had campaigned together and we came to power together in Delhi, and also in Andhra Pradesh. This was thanks to the blessings of the people of Telangana. The Congress gave the people a lot of assurances. Several committees were formed. We trusted them at first but today it has been nine years and they still have not decided.

How have the people reacted to this?

They are obviously upset as they consider it to be a slap on democracy. Their faith in democracy is slowly vanishing. The entire consultation process is a sham. The people are losing patience. This lack of decision is irritating the people and as we speak two people have committed suicide for the cause. How many more lives will we lose? Why is the Congress so insensitive?

What suddenly changed? What exactly happened on December 28, 2012?

The December 28 all-party meeting headed by Union Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde had agreed to hand over Telangana. All parties, barring the Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen and the Communist Party of India-Marxist, had agreed in principle that Telangana should be formed. The MIM and the CPM account for just eight legislators, but the majority verdict was in favour of Telangana. Once there was an overwhelming consensus, we had thought that Telangana will be formed.

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Image: A pro-Telangana activist threatens to commit suicide at Hyderabad
Photographs: SnapsIndia
Tags: Telangana , Congress , TRS , CPM , MIM

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'These industrialists will be found in a cell next to Jagan'

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Do you think there was a change of heart once Rahul Gandhi took over as vice president of the Congress party?

I really do not understand. After the Jaipur meeting of the Congress, Rahul Gandhi had said that he believes in positive politics. But after the statement was made, the Congress succumbed to negative politics.

Madhu Yashki Goud, Congress leader from Telangana, has accused K V P Ramachandra Rao, a close aide of Jagan, of playing spoilsport. He had said that although KVP is in the Congress, he is playing the field for Jagan Reddy and had threatened the Centre of destabilising both the UPA and state government.

As I said, the Congress has succumbed to negative politics. K V P Ramachandra Rao, L Rajgopal and others are industrialists who are today in politics. They are involved in many scams and money-garnering schemes in Hyderabad. They are only safeguarding their business interests.

Hyderabad will not be under the control of the industrialists from Rayalseema and Andhra Pradesh once Telangana is formed. The day the state is formed all these people will be put in the jail cell next to Jaganmohan Reddy.

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Image: YSR Congress chief Jaganmohan Reddy stepping out of Hyderabad's Chanchalguda prison to attend a court proceeding
Photographs: SnapsIndia

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'Merger with Congress only after Telangana is formed'

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Why is this movement under the control of the industrialists and not the people of Telangana?

Unfortunately, that is the way it is. Remember when South Sudan was formed, it was the opinion of the people that was sought. It is the people who have to decide here too and their sentiment has to be taken into consideration.

The ruling party should consider the sentiments of the people and not listen to what the industrialists from Rayalseema or coastal Andhra are saying. The people are confused. Why is a no objection certificate being sought from the industrialists of Seema-Andhra? The Union government needs to come to its senses.

What are your reactions to the resignation threat by the Congress MPs from Telangana?

It is another drama. Why are they submitting their resignations to party chief Sonia Gandhi? They ought to have directly submitted it to Lok Sabha Speaker Meira Kumar. It is another sham by them.

Lastly, what about the tie up or merger between the Congress and your party?

Let the Congress party come out with a clear stand on Telangana with Hyderabad as the capital. Only then will we speak about a merger or tie up. Once they have made up their mind and given us a positive answer on Telangana, a lot of points can be discussed and we could take the merger forward.


Image: Congress leaders from Telangana showing a united face before the media in Hyderabad
Photographs: SnapsIndia

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