Book Review ‘Telangana Prajatirpu’

Kommineni Srinivasa Rao is one of the eminent journalists in the Telugu media. He composed this volume in April 2015.  And this volume was published by one of the leading publishing houses in Telugu, i.e. Prajashakti Book House (PBH). Kommineni is primarily a well known political journalist and he had a long-serving track record in various media houses, including print and electronic. In addition to regular media exposure, he is also inclined towards the production of political literature in print form, now and then. The present volume is one such venture.

The present volume attempts to showcase electoral lineage and trajectory of Assembly and Lok Sabha Constituencies in the State of Telangana. In this sequence, all the Legislative and Lok Sabha Constituencies details since the first election in democratic India, i.e. 1952 onwards are presented in a tabular form. The details in the tabular form include; year of the election held, total votes polled, valid votes, the name of the candidate winning in the election, winning candidates political party affiliation and total votes secured,  nearest defeated candidate and his/her political party affiliation along with details of votes polled. In addition to these particulars, the tabular forms also indicated details about any by-election, etc.

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At present, there are a total of 119 Assembly and 17 Lok Sabha Constituencies in Telangana. Details about all these Constituencies since the first election held in 1952 or since the formation of constituencies due to re-drawing of electoral constituencies are mentioned in a tabular format.

Before presentation of tabular details about each constituency, the author presented a ‘brief introduction’ about various politicians who have won or have been winning, their political affiliations, family affiliations (if required), caste background, any other significance like serving in the cabinet, or holding the position of Chief Minister, etc.

This volume would be a useful ‘reference’ to researchers, political journalists, political parties, politicians, etc. who are interested in electoral politics of this political geographical location, i.e. Telangana.

Since this volume can be used only as a ‘reference work; for the sake of this review, I read a few pages only, i.e. in particular about the electoral constituencies of the Adilabad district. Based on this reading, I composed this review.

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I feel the introduction to this work should have been little strengthened with ‘standardization’. The present introduction to the work, in my view, would be useful and/or understandable only to the present generation. Had this introduction been strengthened little further, next generation people also would have felt comfort in knowing ‘certain facts’ in a sequential detailed manner. The author should have inserted a section like ‘preface’ and attempted to share a few details like methodology, limitations to this work, difficulties faced to compose this work, etc.

 

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Unveil of Dr B R Ambedkar Statue at Ghattuppal Village

I was invited to unveil Dr B R Ambedkar’s statue at Ghattuppal village, Nalgonda District, Telangana State on the occasion of Ambedkar’s 127th birth anniversary i.e., April 14, 2018. On this occasion, I spoke on the ‘Relevance of Understanding Ambedkar’s Perspective’. Two of Dalit Students’ Union (DSU), University of Hyderabad’s alumni were part and parcel of this event, i.e., Jangaiah Boya and myself (S Swaroop Sirapangi). These two people’s names can be observed in this event’s schedule script. This event was well organised by the Scheduled Caste – Madiga locality of Ghattuppal village, who came under a platform named as ‘Ambedkar Youth Association of Ghattuppal village’. 

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Praja Rajaym Party (PRP) Election Manifesto For 2009 Elections

Chiranjeevi, one of the popular Tollywood lead actors launched a political party in the year 2008, keeping in view scheduled elections to the Andhra Pradesh Legislative Assembly and to the Lok Sabha in the year 2009. He named his political outfit as ‘Praja Rajyam’ (PR). This PR came to be popularly referred in due course of time as PRP – Praja Rajyam Party.

PRP successfully contested the 2009 elections but failed to capture political power by forming Government. By the year 2011 PRP got formally merged with the Indian National Congress (INC). While merging PRP with the INC, Chiranjeevi expressed hope and commitment that the INC will deliver PRP’s expected and cherished noble goals. In this entire sequence, though the PRP was short-lived, its well promoted and released manifesto has its own significance. Please see the below link for a .pdf version of the PRP’s 2009 election manifesto. 

PRP Manifesto, 2009

TRS under KCR’s Leadership During 2001-2009

The second political innings of Kalvakuntla Chandrashekar Rao (KCR) as a prime leader and founder of the Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) had witnessed intense emotional political commotion. As a sub-regional political party leader articulating the interests of the Telangana region and people within Andhra Pradesh’s political entity, he used to device a few innovative strategies. His original assertive political approach, as per visible observable pattern was his emotionally connecting speeches. His speeches had a simultaneous dual edged target. While the Telangana people used to cheer, the rest of the Coastal Andhra and Rayalaseema people used to feel hurt, after watching and listening KCR’s speeches.

Politically KCR’s TRS party was able to establish some hold and ground only within a few districts after its establishment. This dimension continued for long. The North Telangana districts primarily had a firm grip in favour of the TRS. But then, even on a few occasions, the TRS lost its prospects within the North Telangana districts and performed miserably during a few electoral contests. The Southern Telangana zone had relatively less impact concerning about the TRS’s base and ideology. In another sense, while the North Telangana zone had better cadre and leadership, such dimension lacked in the Southern Telangana zone.

But then, the political prospects of the TRS started to had an entirely different position due to the changed political situation since November/December 2009 onwards. The political base of the TRS began to witness widespread penetration since the end of the year 2009; same time other political parties used to feel worried due to loosing of their base to the TRS. 

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From 2001 to 2009, i.e., from the establishment of the TRS to broad political base shift in favour of the TRS had undergone different dimensions. During 2001 to 2004 the TRS made intense efforts to pave base for its ideological assertion within the democratic electoral sphere. The confidence of the TRS also gained an immense positive boost after witnessing a certain level of success in the local self-governance bodies elections.

During the year 2004 elections to the Andhra Pradesh Legislative Assembly and Lok Sabha constituencies, TRS and the Indian National Congress (INC) had an electoral collaboration. As a result of such coalition engagement both the TRS and INC, after elections had formed joint governments at the Andhra Pradesh level and the national level. In another sense, both at the Andhra Pradesh level and at the federal level, the TRS became part and parcel of the Council of Ministries headed by respective Chief Minister and Prime Minister. The INC primarily formed both governments at the Andhra Pradesh and national level. Mainly, the INC government at the federal level was a significant coalition government, under the Prime Minister-ship of Dr Manmohan Singh. But, the INC government at Andhra Pradesh secured an absolute majority in the Legislative Assembly to form the government on its own. Even then, both the INC and the TRS had become part and parcel of a coalition government, at Andhra Pradesh. 

The TRS continued for a few years as part of the INC headed rules at the  Andhra Pradesh and national level. But, in due course of time, TRS started to quit the respective Ministries, alleging that the INC headed coalition governments, primarily at the national level failed to initiate measure towards the realisation of a separate Telangana state formation! First, TRS Ministers withdrew from the INC government at Andhra Pradesh level. And next, the TRS withdrew from the Union Council of Ministry. But, there was a significant time gap between the two decisions and withdrawal from the respective Council of Ministries headed by the Chief Minister and Prime Minister. 

The TRS faced an intense political competitive challenge, primarily from the INC at Andhra Pradesh level. A few elected representatives after 2004 elections had challenged the working and decision making styles of the TRS leadership, i.e., KCR. This prime challenge emerged when the TRS under KCR’s leadership decided to withdrew support to the INC government at Andhra Pradesh level; as a result of which TRS Ministers withdrew from the Council of Ministry headed by Y S Rajashekara Reddy.

The challenge of a few elected representatives during this time was analysed in both negative and positive shades. As per negative shaded perspective argument, the elected representatives who challenged the TRS and KCR’s leadership and decision making style were branded as opportunistically looking towards the INC and Y S Rajashekara Reddy’s leadership for better political prospects and more!!

Such suspected ill-intention of the TRS elected representatives amounts to arguing that a few elected representatives were always ready to associate and benefit by willing to illegally and immorally associate with those who are in political power, like the INC and Y S Rajashekara Reddy in this particular case and situation. In fact, this kind of trend in politics had started and made party formal political affiliations and ideological commitments in jeopardy. The Indian politics is continuing with this kind of contradictions. 

At another level, after 2004 elections, at times, on a few occasions, TRS cadre and local level leaders used to object to the working style and functioning nature of the KCR’s leadership. KCR used to had prolonged arguments with such sections and groups. But, as per media projections and analysis, KCR failed to engage and address their genuine political concerns democratically. As a result, the final result on such occasions resulted in loosing of sincere and committed cadre! During such times, political observers felt that the TRS under KCR’s leadership was heading towards a dangerous political crisis, as proper democratic decision making and problem resolving mechanism was not in place. 

Another political strategy adopted by the TRS under KCR’s leadership was to contest in the elections, even before the end of the formal tenure of the Legislative Assembly. As a result, a few Members of Legislative Assembly (MLA) and Member of Parliament (MP) resigned and contested elections seeking fresh mandate towards their ideological and political performance. But, a few TRS elected representatives challenged such decision and sided with the INC, politically. This dimension should be seen from party defections perspective. All this happened in the year 2008, even though general elections were scheduled to be held in 2009! But, during this by-election atmosphere, the TRS contested elections without having any formal electoral alliance with any other co-political party like the INC, etc. The result of this by-election was dis-heartening to the TRS. KCR had a tight position to face; because of electoral humiliation after witnessing the by-election result and justify his leadership and decision-making ability and capability formally in front of media! During this by-election, the TRS lost the election on a massive scale. 

All this proves that the TRS during 2001-2009 had faced an intense political crisis. But, somehow, after completion of the year 2009 general elections and in particular after the sudden and tragic demise of the Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Y S Rajashekara Reddy; the TRS under KCR’s leadership had faced intense political ascendance. The political prospects of the TRS since the year end of the year 2009 should be analysed as a separate political phase. 

KCR as a United Andhra Pradesh Leader to TRS Founder

The Telangana Rashtra Samithi’s President Mr Kalvakuntla Chandrashekar Rao (KCR) had political innings since 1980’s with the launch of the Telugu Desam Party (TDP). TDP’s favourite and the vocal stand was in favour of protecting and taking forward the interests of the ‘Telugu people and their pride’. Since KCR started his political career in the TDP, he was also primarily in favour of the TDP’s ideological legacy and projection, by and large.

Immediately after the conclusion of the year 1999’s Andhra Pradesh Legislative Assembly’s election, KCR expected to become part and parcel of the Council of Ministry headed by the TDP Chief and Chief Minister Nara Chandrababu Naidu. But, to his utter disappointment, he was offered and elevated to the range and level of the Andhra Pradesh Legislative Assembly’s Deputy Speaker position. Surprisingly, KCR accepted and discharged the role and responsibility of this post, though he was disappointed for failing to get a berth in the Council of Ministry. Media used to highlight that KCR was discontented for failing to get a chance of induction in the Council of Ministry. But, KCR maintained tense silence without expressing his outburst against TDP President and Chief Minister Nara Chandrababu Naidu, for offering him below range position, by keeping aside his political seniority, etc. 

Ultimately, in April 2001 KCR launched a separate Political party and named it as TRS. With the launch of TRS, KCR’s second political innings started as an independent prime leader of the TRS. He became a prominent sub-regional and state level political leader, primarily. Later on, he went on to become a national leader also, on behalf of the TRS, as Member of Parliament (MP),  Union Council of Minister under the Prime Minister-ship of Manmohan Singh led UPA coalition government, etc. 

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KCR’s political leadership, activism, role, prospectus, etc. until the launch of the TRS revolved as a leader of the United Andhra Pradesh only. In every aspect, constitutionally and legally, he was committed to the progressive prospectus of the entire Andhra Pradesh and India, for having had taken oath as people’s representative! And, most importantly, he was part and parcel of the TDP, which was committed to the overall development and prospectus of the Telugu’s. 

As leader of the TDP and MLA in the Andhra Pradesh Legislative Assembly, KCR once expressed his vociferous concerned wishful desire of curbing prevalent zonal system in the united Andhra Pradesh. The zonal system in the united Andhra Pradesh was prevalent, in order to curtail and limit encroach of some developed region people’s hegemony on some under-developed regions, in the spheres of education and employment. This zonal system has had constitutional protection also.

The TDP released video clipping of KCR’s speech in the Andhra Pradesh Legislative Assembly, in which he expressed his opposition to the prevalent zonal system. But, the timing chosen by the TDP in the release of that video clip of KCR’s speech in favour of curbing Zonal system was subject to different criticisms. TDP released this video clip of KCR’s statement in the Andhra Pradesh Legislative Assembly, much late, after the launch of the TRS by KCR. By the time TDP released the video clip of KCR’s speech, the political situation was far volatile, and there was no much impact on the TDP’s propaganda against KCR, as a suspicious person taking forward separate state cause of Telangana!! 

 

KCR’s Two Biggest Deceived Promises

Kalvakuntla Chandrashekara Rao, popularly referred and recognised as ‘KCR’ as per abbreviation is the Chief leader and President of the Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) since its formation in April 2001. KCR had political leanings, primarily since 1980’s with the launch of the Telugu Desam Party (TDP) by late Nandamuri Taraka Rama Rao (NTR), one of the lead founders of the TDP. KCR had impressive and successful political growth in the TDP up to 1990’s end, until he developed severe differences with the then TDP President and Andhra Pradesh (AP) Chief Minister Nara Chandrababu Naidu. As a result of sharp developed differences with AP Chief Minister and TDP President he launched his own and separate political outfit and named it as TRS.

After the year 1999 general election to the Andhra Pradesh Legislative Assembly, KCR felt deceived by the TDP President and AP Chief Minister Nara Chandrababu Naidu for not offering him a Ministerial position, which he held and discharged during the previous tenure of the AP Legislative Assembly. Since then, though he was elevated and offered the Deputy Speaker position of the AP Legislative Assembly, he was highly uncomfortable and started to move his wishes and plans to launch a separate political party for the cause of achieving a different Telangna state, by bifurcating from the united AP.

From this point onwards he emerged as one of the lead leaders in AP politics as a person wishing to represent the wishes of the sub-regional identity political discourse. Interestingly, media also gave him, and his party required space concerning coverage. But, whether such media coverage could be satisfactory or unsatisfactory depends upon various factors like the methods and ways of projection adopted by media regarding the news report, analysis, etc. On the whole KCR, had emerged as a lead sub-regional and state level leader in AP politics. This was a drastic departure from his previous role and position as a leader of the TDP, people’s representative as Member of Legislative Assembly (MLA), etc.

Media coverage, people’s expectations and observation of a prominent leader would always be different. In fact, observation and media coverage varies from the role and position of a politician. In the present case, KCR also occupied a unique situation, with his launch of TRS. The actions, speeches, observations, views, etc. of him used to get immense attention in media. At times, mocking also used to happen.

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In entire KCR’s political career two significant issues are noteworthy. They relate to his prominent promises made and tendered at crucial times and on crucial matters. But, he failed to stand up to his promised words!! These two incidents pertain to ‘his promise of elevating a Dalit politician as Chief Minister of a separate Telangana State, after formation of Telangana State’, and another one related to ‘merger of TRS with the Indian National Congress (INC) immediately after passage of separate Telangana Bill by the Indian Parliament’. He failed to live and stand up to these two repeatedly made promises!!

Immediately after passage of a separate Telangana state formation Bill by the Indian Parliament he made volta and started to attack the INC in a filthy language verbally and declined to merge TRS with the INC! And, next, after completion of the year 2014 general elections, he refused to elevate any Dalit politician as Chief Minister of newly formed Telangana State!!

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In India, politicians and political parties are notable for making deceiving promises as part of their electoral promises and at times even fails to implement and stand up to declared electoral manifesto promises. But, KCR’s deceived promises are very historical and contextual. He will be remembered in political history in both positive and negative terms. He will be recognised positively for fostering a separate democratic political movement and battle for achieving a different Telangana state. And, at the same time, his role will be negatively documented for deceiving Dalits for not elevating any Dalit politician as Chief Minister of Telangana state and for cheating a co-political party INC without TRS merger into it.

Interestingly, KCR felt deceived by the TDP Chief and the then AP Chief Minister Nara Chandrababu Naidu for not offering him a proper political position, i.e., space in the Council of Ministers immediately after the conclusion of the year 1999 general elections to the AP Legislative Assembly. And, KCR repeatedly continued to argue, voice and highlight deceived and humiliated developmental prospects meted out by the Andhra politicians to the Telangana region and people, as leader of the TRS. But, in reality, he turned to be a deceiver, on a few occasions, like the prominent two deceived incidents mentioned and highlighted above!!

Book Review on ‘First Naxal: An Authorised Biography of Kanu Sanyal’

Indian English media reporter Bappaditya Paul, as part of his professional career, came to know about the most historical person behind Naxal Movement, i.e., Kanu Sanyal. Naxalite Movement in India is one of the most powerful and widespread political movement for close to fifty years now. This movement had its origin in the Siliguri region of the North Bengal zone of West Bengal state. After knowing about Kanu Sanyal, Bappaditya Paul put forwarded immense and intense efforts to bring light to his life in a biographical mode. In this direction, Bappaditya Paul had spent three continues years with Kanu Sanyal by recording about his life history, his attraction towards Naxalite movement, his role in this entire movement, his perceptions of this movement, etc.

In addition to the primary data collected from Kanu Sanyal, Bappaditya Paul also made efforts to gather secondary source material and brought cohesiveness to this entire authorised biography and published the same on behalf of the Sage Publications India Private Limited in the year 2014. Kanu Sanyal himself authorised almost the entire part of this biography, except concluding section. Kanu Sanyal, unfortunately, passed away without authorising the concluding part of this biography.

This Review, composed by me, is published by the Galaxy: International Multidisciplinary Research Journal, as part its September 2017 – Vol. 6, Issue – 5. Please have a look at the below link for a .pdf formatted version of this Review. 

First Naxal An Authorised Biograpby of Kanu Sanyal