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.

II

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!!

III

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!!

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Is Prof Kancha Ilaiah A Christian By Faith?

Professor Kancha Ilaiah is one of the well-recognised academic personality among non-academic circles of India, and that too in particularly in the South Indian Telugu region, for close to two decades for now. He has been in public life for more than 30 years as part of various activities like human rights issues, Naxalite movement, debates over caste-class articulations, etc. But, his prime focal venture upon the problems related to ‘caste’, from various vintages as a writer and verbal articulator made him acquire a sudden representative base among different sections of India and abroad too. The sections which recognised him concerning his articulations on ‘caste’ issues are also well divided in having their opinions either in support or in against of him.

One of the Prof Kancha Ilaiah’s work produced and published in the form of ‘Why I Am Not A Hindu?’ during the later part of the 1990’s decade made him acquire unprecedented popularity even among non-academic circles. This work attempted to theorise ‘Dalit-Bahujan’ ideological base for political emancipation and recognition. Though this volume’s content made him gain unprecedented popularity even among the academic circles; there were a few among academic circles who considered this volume’s articulation as incoherent. Among such academic critics, only one academician’s professional review of ‘Why I Am Not a Hindu’, is well received by certain quarters of the academic world. D R Nagaraj produced this professional critique, and titled it as ‘The Pathology of Sickle Swallowing’. This review is part of a D R Nagaraj’s volume ‘The Flaming Feet and Other Essays: The Dalit Movement in India’. In this professional academic examination, D R Nagaraj pointed out an incoherent way of looking at and theorising Dalits and Bahujan’s as a coherent section vis-a-vis other upper castes like Brahmins, Vysya’s, etc.

In due course of time, the criticism of D R Nagaraj and others who have been subscribing to the incoherent way of looking at Dalit-Bahujans’ as a homogenous section vis-a-vis against upper castes also started to gain currency. Towards this end, the atrocities committed by Bahujans’/OBC’s against Dalits in various forms got well reported and established!! Thus, the attempted way of Prof Kancha’s synthesised Dalit-Bahujan as a coherent section against the upper castes of India started to get debunked to some extent.

II

Meanwhile, due to widespread gained popularity on account of sensational ‘Why I Am Not A Hindu?’, Prof Kancha’s activism ventured into various other domains of mainstream society and polity. He became a leading recognisable face of national and international media, civil society organisations, human rights forums, etc. He writings started to circulate well in the public media sphere in the form of newspaper articles, in a few leading national English dailies for quite a sustained duration.

During this same phase in the Indian polity, the Hindutva political outfit Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) was acquiring ascendence in various forms and started to successfully run a coalition government under the Prime Ministership of Atal Bihari Vajpayee. As a result, Prof Kancha begun to express his anti-Hindutva, anti-upper caste stands & modes of upper ranks exploitation, lower castes subordination and exploitation, etc. in the newspaper articles. This regular appearance of him in the mainstream media coupled with his consistent involved political activism in various forms made him a limelight personality.

The acquired fame of Prof Kancha, his produced and projected literature, arguments, rhetoric, etc. generated, nurtured, developed and spread anxieties among the upper castes and even among the Bahujan’s. These sections started to feel threatened and saw the rise of Dalit-Bahujan ideological orientation as a threat to their existence, domination and comfort in the mainstream Indian society. Thus, as an academic Prof Kancha Ilaiah with his regular writings in the mainstream media against Hindutva, upper castes, etc. started to create anti-Dalit Bahujan section, in a renewed fashion.

Same time, a few ranks, mostly, Dalits across India, especially in the South Indian Telugu region began to embrace his verbal and vocal articulations and writings!! All this indicated that within the constructed and projected section of ‘Dalit-Bahujan’, only a significant section of Dalits started to embrace openly and widely Prof Kancha Ilaiah’s ideological orientation. And, a particular part of mainstream Indian society also commenced to perceive him as a ‘Dalit Ideologue’ only, by keeping aside his Bahujan/OBC leanings.

On the other side, the Bahujan’s/OBC’s proven to be foot soldiers of the Hindutva identity, by becoming an influential vote bank; and as a ferociously wishing sect to see Hinduness in various walks of life and society.

III

Form this entire vantage point onwards; how Prof Kancha developed an image of pro-Christian should be ascertained?!

One of the prime focal centres of arguments in Prof Kancha’s writings is; that the Hindu religion is a ‘spiritual fascist’ sect. Here Hindu religion was seen and shown as a Brahmanical disorder by him and projected in the same manner in his writings. Thus, in his opinion, the Indian society over the years is infected with Brahmanical spiritual disturbances, and the large chunks of Indian masses like the upper castes, OBC’s, etc. are under Brahminical spiritual fascist orientation, without their knowledge and escape possibilities. Having observed so, Prof Kancha started to compare various Hindu / Brahmanical Gods and Goddess on one side. And, on the other hand, he also began to examine Hindu Gods and Goddess with different Christian and Islamic spiritual sect.

Towards this end of comparison, he, on various points of occasions expressed an inclination towards Christian faith and belief, as a liberating, egalitarian and humanitarian force. All this indicated that he had been a vocal opponent of Hindu/Brahmanical religious order. But, saw conversion to other religions like Christianity, Islam, Buddhism, etc. as a source of liberation. Unusually, he sounded as much inspired towards Christianity, its values, achievements, etc.

In this direction, he even maintained a few good contacts and relations with quite a few non-Hindu / non-Hindutva / non-Brahmanical leaders and organisations. On the other side, a few Hindu / Brahmanical groups and leaders; started to report and accuse that a few Christian leaders and institutions are well interested in the articulations of Prof Kancha Ilaiah, to encourage religious conversions from Hinduism to Christianity!!

Thus, the open vocal position and articulations of Prof Kancha Ilaiah against Hinduism / Brahmanical religious order came as an handi source to the Hindutva forces who have been attempting to consolidate their base by showing the religious minorities as a threat to the national security, Hindus unity and prosperity.

Towards this end, at times, a few Hindu organisations / Hindutva sections, etc. even accused Prof Kancha Ilaiah as an agent of Christian religious conversion plans and having hand-in-glove relations with foreign Christian conversion forces. By making such politically motivated statements and propaganda, various Hindutva sects, organisations and individuals have been focusing on creating a panic among the more extensive Hindu section and wishing to consolidate vote bank for electoral gains, in favour of BJP.

But, on the whole, the fact remains entirely different; that Prof Kancha Ilaiah never converted to Christianity or any other non-Hindu religious orders. And, he never expressed his desire and inclination to turn from Hinduism to other religions like Christianity.

IV

A few Academicians, progressive civil society organisations and activists, have viewed, regarded and considered Prof Ilaiah’s writings and speeches as a mere initial expression of comparison of Hindu / Bhramanical order with other foreign religious laws like the Christianity / Islam, etc. And, such writings and speeches of feelings, in a few academicians view, lacked scholarly depth, from various vintages.

Towards this end, the Bahujan Students’ Front (BSF), University of Hyderabad organised a debate between Prof Kancha Iliah and Prof Arun Kumar Patnaik on August 06, 2015 stands vindication. This discussion got hosted in the wake of a controversy racked by the Hindutva forces over one of the Prof Kancha Ilaiah’s article in a Telugu newspaper daily, Andhra Jyothi. This debate’s shrouded titled was marked as  ‘Future of Social Science and Perils of Hindutva’.

In this debate, Prof Arun Kumar Patnaik found fault with Prof Kancha Ilaiah’s line of synthesis against Hindu religion, Hindu Gods, Hindu Goddess, Hindu mythology, etc. Prof Arun felt that Prof Kancha Ilaiah had been failing to recognise dual and multiple versions and meanings in Hindu mythology and other religions like Christianity. Having failed so, in the opinion of Prof Arun; Prof Kancha Ilaiah lacked comprehensive reading and understanding of various texts, dimensions and discourses. All this indicated in the view of Prof Arun; that Prof Kancha Ilaiah have had inclined towards a linear path of analysis, which is wrong in rational discourse. But, in this debate, Prof Kancha justified his line of synthesis, arguments and activism from ‘personal experience perspective’.

V

On the whole, the Hindutva forces activism and accused propaganda against Prof Kancha Ilaiah as an anti-national, threat to the Indian national Hindu identity, etc. are well received and believed at times, due to a sporadic rise of specific sensational issues.

Towards this end, Swami Paripoornananda’s accusation of Prof Kancha Ilaiah as a foreign Christian forces agent, be seen. Such an allegation of Swami Paripoornanada against Prof Kancha Ilaiah appears; as believed by a large proportion of the population. Swami Paripoornananda made this charge against Prof Kancha Ilaiah in the wake of racked controversy by the Telugu Vyasya community over Prof Kancha Ilaiah’s book against Vyasy’s as ‘Social Smuggler community’.

Sadly, as per many observations; Prof Kancha Ilaiah, though not a convert to Christianity and not having such a wish to convert to Christianity as of now, is failing to negate and debunk such compelling allegations of the Hindutva forces!!

Note: It would be better if one can read this article after going through extensive Hindutva sections propagation and accusations against Prof Kanha Ilaiah as a Christian conversion forces agent or concerning such allegations. 

How to View Tollywood Actor Pawan Kalyan’s Re-emergence During 2014 Election?

Tollywood’s lead actor Pawan Kalyan who had formal political entry through the Praja Rajyam Party (PRP), launched by his brother Chiranjeevi in the year 2008 had to reincarnate his political innings during 2014 general election to the Andhra Pradesh (AP) Legislative Assembly and Indian Parliament’s Lok Sabha constituencies. Chiranjeevi, as President of the PRP, had successfully merged PRP with the Indian National Congress (INC) in 2011. PRP’s merger with INC had put an end to expected positive political outcomes by certain quarters in AP politics through Chiranjeevi and Kapu community.

I

Due to a sporadic change in the political atmosphere of AP, on account of the sudden and tragic death of Chief Minister Dr Y S Rajashekara Reddy (YSR) and other associated factors, INC was pushed into a massive political crisis. As a result, INC’s political base and support to its government at AP level started to diminish.

After the death of YSR, INC at AP level faced challenges from YSR’s son Y S Jagan Mohan Reddy and Telangana Rastra Samithi (TRS) Chief K Chandrashekar Rao (KCR).

A significant section of AP INC Members of Legislative Assembly (MLA’s) started to favour the leadership of Y S Jagan Mohan Reddy, after the death of YSR. An eloquent section of AP MLA’s favouritism towards Y S Jagan Mohan Reddy’s direction pushed the INC into a minority position, politically. But, somehow, the INC at AP level managed to lead the government for almost five years without losing ground on the AP Legislative Assembly.

During this same phase, the INC was also not in a position to seek and depend on the support of the TRS on the floor of the AP Legislative Assembly for a majority. Even INC started to face a stiff political demand from the TRS championed public movement in favour of the creation of a separate Telangana state. Thus, the INC, at AP level, during this phase, was in an unusual dilemma on how to save its government’s strength on the floor of the AP Legislative Assembly and political base at ground level? Both, Y S Jagan Mohan Reddy and TRS under KCR have become a stumbling block for its political prospects.

II

As a result, the INC concretely made efforts to have support and subsequent merger of PRP into its fold. But then, at a certain point in time, even PRP’s merger with INC failed to rescue INC concretely on the floor of AP Legislative Assembly. The opposition Telugu Desam Party’s (TDP) ‘favourable role’ during ‘No Confidence Motion’ against the INC government rescued it. Thus, at a particular point in time, both the ruling and opposition parties (i.e., INC & TDP, respectively) have realised the potential looming danger in the form of Y S Jagan Mohan Reddy (by this period he launched a separate political party and named it as YSRCP) and TRS Chief KCR.

One of the primes edged factor, which contributed the INC to control massive losing political ground, for a limited duration, at AP level emanated through INC’s political power at New Delhi range. INC was also successfully running Indian Union’s (coalition UPA) government under the Prime Ministership of Dr Manmohan Singh during this period. And INC was headed by Sonia Gandhi as National President. Sonia Gandhi as National President of the INC was the prime leader who dealt with unfavourable political conditions at the AP level during this period of crisis, albeit through the undisclosed support of the Indian Union government under the Prime Ministership of Dr Manmohan Singh, at times!!

With the merger of PRP into the INC; INC not only had anticipation to save its INC government at AP level for the 2009-2014 duration but also had the intention of increasing its support base at ground level. The INC expected that PRP’s scored 18% vote share during 2009 elections may shift into its fold. [But, such expectations of INC got proven entirely wrong after witnessing the final results of the 2014 elections.]

Finally, the INC put forward a few efforts to save its government and political base at AP level, after the death of YSR. In this whole process, INC initiated a few steps, like;

01. Made high intensified corruption allegations against the YSRCP leader Y S Jagan Mohan Reddy and started to prosecute him legally, through various national investigative agencies like CBI, etc. In this whole process, INC government(s) (at both AP and federal level, in a collusion mode) imprisoned Y S Jagan Mohan Reddy for a significant sustained duration.
02. Initiated process for formation of a separate Telangana State, by conceding to the high intensified political movement led by the TRS Chief KCR, which witnessed an unprecedented support from a large quantum of Telangana masses.

III

By imprisoning Y S Jagan Mohan Reddy, the INC and TDP expected to regain, retain and sustain their political bases. Thus, the INC and TDP, which were formally Treasury batch (government) and Opposition in the AP Legislative Assembly have entered into an undisclosed hand-in-glove agreement to keep at bay Y S Jagan Mohan Reddy’s YSRCP unprecedented emergence on the AP political landscape, especially in the Coastal and Rayalaseema regions. Towards this end process, YSRCP’s prime leader Y S Jagan Mohan Reddy got imprisoned for about 13 months duration or so.

At a certain level of a point, even after the PRP’s merger into the INC; it became difficult to capture the base of voters at Coastal and Rayalaseema regions. In these areas, in various by-elections, the YSRCP performed exceptionally well by winnings different AP Legislative Assembly constituency seats. And, in these elections, the INC and TDP have lost their deposits also.

And, in the Telangana region, in the by-elections to various AP Legislative Assembly constituency seats, TRS won with a tumping majority by trespassing other political forces like the INC and TDP.

Thus, in all the three unique regions of AP, i.e., Coastal, Rayalaseema and Telangana, the INC and TDP have started to witness single anti-incumbency factor as ruling and opposition sections.

In this background, the INC and TDP had recognised and extended support to a separate Telangana state formation to save their electoral prospectus, at least partially. The INC took concrete steps in this respect and initiated the process for an independent Telangana state formation at Parliament of India level. But, TDP, though extended support to a separate Telangana state formation had played a dual role at a certain level. The TDP chief Nara Chandrababu Naidu talked in double tongue and tones in support and against the separate creation of an independent Telangana state.

Ultimately, by deciding and initiating the process towards bifurcation of AP; as AP and Telangana at Parliament of India level, the INC and TDP had expected to benefit politically, in their ways and forms. Mainly, in this direction, the INC lost hopes on the Coastal and Rayalaseema regions. Its base, in these two areas, was regained by YSRCP under Y S Jagan Mohan Reddy’s leadership at a certain level; and at a certain, another level, the initiated process towards the formation of a separate Telangana state routed its presence.

As a result of losing hopes on the Coastal and Rayalaseema regions, the INC by forming a separate Telangana state had expected to regain political power at Telangana state level after 2014 election. Towards this direction, it was also believed and rumoured that after the formation of a separate Telangana state, the TRS would merge into the INC; as a result, after 2014 election the INC would easily win the election!!

While this was the anticipated strategical plan of the INC, the TDP which was in opposition under Nara Chandrababu Naidu’s leadership had a tough time to regain and sustain base at both the Telangana and AP level; after AP’s bifurcation by the Parliament of India.

Against this background 2014 elections approached, again to the AP Legislative Assembly and the Parliament of India’s Lok Sabha constituencies. There was a complete change in the AP political atmosphere by 2014 (on a comparative basis from 2009 election). Though technically this election was held as an election to the AP Legislative Assembly; after the final election result’s declaration, two governments were scheduled to form as per the AP Reorganisation Act, 2014 as passed by the Parliament of India. As a result, electoral political atmosphere continued as per the expected two governments formations, accordingly.

IV

No one expected any role of film stars during this 2014 election, especially in the Coastal Andhra Pradesh. During 2009 elections Coastal AP witnessed an unprecedented participation of film personalities political campaign. On the sidelines of 2009 elections at AP level, Kamma and Kapu Tollywood stars campaigned on a massive scale, on behalf of the TDP and PRP respectively. No one anticipated such large-scale participation of film stars again during this election.

But then, TDP wished to have movie stars electoral campaign, especially like those of; Nandamuri Balakrishna and Junior Nandamuri Taraka Rama Rao (Jr NTR). Though the former took part enthusiastically, the later failed to take the lead this time. This position of Jr NTR also made a few quarters of TDP to express venom against him, especially from the top TDP’s leadership.

The TDP leadership, which primarily depended on the Kamma film stars political campaign during 2009 elections; this time, due to the changed political atmosphere, remodified its electoral strategy and stretched its arms to welcome Kapu community’s film star Pawan Kalyan!! Thus, all this indicates, that the two caste’s, i.e., Kamma and Kapu, which have animosity for years together in the social and political realms have come along. The socio-political enmity of the Kamma and Kapu communities even got manifested in various domains of everyday’s life activity, like, in the political sector too; that’s one of the prime reasons behind 2009 electoral analysis.

The changed political atmosphere due to the unprecedented emergence of the YSRCP, TRS and bifurcation of AP into AP and Telangana states, respectively had made the TDP reconsider and remodify its electoral strategies. Accordingly, the TDP leadership attempted to co-opt Kapu community for electoral gain; in this direction, it saw Tollywood actor Pawan Kalyan as a potential leveraging source.

Political critics saw TDP’s extension of open arms to Pawan Kalyan as an astute political strategy; because TDP during 2014 elections cannot extend such an invitation to the PRP’s founder President and Tollywood star actor Chiranjeevi. Chiranjeevi and Pawan Kalyan should be seen not just as the film starts; but as holders of a significant base among the Kapu community. Chiranjeevi during 2014 elections was technically part and parcel of the INC and was also the sitting Union Council of Minister under the Prime Ministership of Dr Manmohan Singh. All this indicated that Chiranjeevi got benefitted a lot after the launch of PRP and even after the merger of PRP with the INC, in many forms. But, a significant proportion of those who had trusted and considered PRP’s positive prospects under Chiranjeevi’s leadership got disappointed.

V

At an individual level of analysis, even Pawan Kalyan, who sailed with his brother Chiranjeevi also got disappointed; because, due to the merger of PRP with the INC, only Chiranjeevi got benefitted politically and more.

The move of TDP in attempting to extend a hand and invite Pawan Kalyan, who visibly failed to get benefited from the merger of PRP with INC; is, as per the views of political critics an astute move from TDP chief Nara Chandrababu Naidu and others. This step of TDP was seen and read as attempting to co-opt a section or favourite person from the former political opponent sect, i.e., PRP and Kapu. But, what kind of political calculations pushed TDP to weigh this option of an attempt to co-opt Pawan Kalyan during 2014 elections, should also be known!!

As per political calculations, during 2014 elections, the TDP anticipated that the Kapu community’s vote bank would play a crucial role in deciding the attractive prospects of lead contesting political parties, i.e., TDP and YSRCP, in the Coastal and Rayalaseema regions of AP, after bifurcation of AP into AP and Telangana. As a result, it ensured to co-opt and play the political game through former PRP leader, famous film actor and Kapu community’s renowned personality Pawan Kalyan!!

VI

All this indicates that popular forms of political assertions like those based on ‘caste and class’ notions have undergone a significant sea-change immediately after the 2009 general elections and that too in particular after the sudden and tragic demise of YSR. The common modes of political games and prospects existed till then have invariably reincarnated their aspirations through various forms, during a polarised political crisis.

And, Pawan Kalyan also reidentified and redefined, to some extent, his political position in this entire turbulent political phase. In a certain other sense, Pawan Kalyan’s possible playable political prospects were suggested by ‘the Other’, i.e., TDP, and he obliged with gladness to choose, incline and perform such role!!

Thus, at last, Pawan Kalyan ventured into the 2014 electoral fray on behalf of the TDP-BJP electoral alliance as a support lead campaigner.

University of Hyderabad 2016-2017 Students’ Union Election Contestation

A few details pertaining to the previous academic year 2016-17 Students’ Union election at the University of Hyderabad is as follows;

ABVP OBCA Whole Panel

ABVP OBCA President and VP

ABVP - OBCA

ABVP OBCA GS and JS

ABVP OBCA Cultural and Sports Secretaries

GS CASH

UFSJ for 2016-2017

Ultimately, this election witnessed the fruitful and victorious emergence of the United Front for Social Justice (UFSJ). UFSJ comprised various student organisations like Students’ Federation of India (SFI), Dalit Students’ Union (DSU), Tribal Students’ Forum (TSF), Bahujan Students’ Front (BSF), Telangana Vidyarthi Vedika (TVV) as electoral alliance partners. Ambedkar Students’ Association (ASA) contested as a separate panel entity; though there were high range expectations that ASA will become part of UFSJ. The ASA’s contestation as an independent electoral group of a body made many disappointed, and some even accused ASA by attributing evil motives in various forms.

This election took place after the Univerity of Hyderabad witnessed an unprecedented global attention in the wake of the unfortunate suicide of one of the Ph.D., Research Scholars, i.e., Mr Rohit Vemula. The death of Rohit Vemula attracted global attention towards projected and alleged caste discrimination on the University of Hyderabad campus in particular and on other academic institutions across India, in general.

This 2016-17 election also witnessed an unprecedented focus. One of the focal centres of concern was; why a united student body, which led a glorious revolutionary democratic battle against the Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP), Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), Vice Chancellor Prof Podile Appa Rao, etc. got disunited and contested elections? A large chunk of the University student body, comprised almost all the student organisations, expect ABVP, came under two platforms: ‘Justice for Rohit Vemula & Joint Action Committee For Social Justice’ and led a massive revolutionary democratic battle against the groups mentioned above and Vice Chancellor. This large-scale student organisations activism was expected to retain and sustain during this electoral contestation in the form of electoral alliance. But, such expectations, in reality, saw disunity in electoral collaboration.

By the time of the 2016-17 election, these two platforms; ‘Justice for Rohit Vemula & Joint Action Committee for Social Justice’ activities got declined. Critics observed that the reduction of these two platforms activities had to do something with the ensuring and forthcoming elections for that academic year. All this indicates: politics, though openly not acknowledged, is well mastered and practised by various student organisations and sections. And, it took some time for others to realise realities, especially for those whose expectations were very high after witnessing high-level student activism in the form of Justice for Rohit Vemula, etc.

Allegations and counter allegations also went-on high during this electoral process and immediately after completion of the electoral process also this tempo continued. It was highly alleged that ASA was the prime responsible student organisation for betraying the spirit of possible electoral collusion of all the participated teams in the Justice for Rohit Vemula movement. But, ASA justified and propagated that it fought as an independent electoral body since it got betrayed by other co-students organisations (ASA allegations over disappointment should be ascertained and seen separately)!! But, such charge and propagation of ASA got negated by other co-student organisations, which colluded under UFSJ for electoral gain. Among all the colluded partners under UFSJ; BSF took the lead and criticised ASA, as ASA possessed evil motive, for failing to join UFSJ and making unjustified allegations against UFSJ partners. BSF accused ASA has had hand-in-glove with the Indian National Congress (INC) and National Students’ Union of India (NSUI) for not joining the alliance under UFSJ. While BSF expressed such opinion publicly, some others too expressed such opinion in informal ways.

All this indicates that the University range elections, at the University of Hyderabad level, are getting entwined with the mainstream political atmosphere, which was not the case until a few years ago. In fact, in the past, almost all the Student organisations desired to have wider exposure to their political activism in the mainstream media with public attention and concern. Such wish of them started to fruity slowly over the past few years in various respects. The University of Hyderabad’s, unseen alumni role is also prominent, in getting this University into the public limelight over the past few years.

Lakshmi Parvathi’s Role in Andhra Pradesh Politics

Lakshmi Parvathi (hereafter ‘LP’) is well known as the widow of NTR (Nandamuri Taraka Rama Rao). NTR was a successful Tollywood lead actor in his prominent first innings of life and the second innings of his life turned attention towards ‘politics’. His political entry and subsequent success were a record in the Indian political discourse on certain parameters. He was successful in ousting the Indian National Congress (INC) in Andhra Pradesh (AP) on behalf of the Telugu Desam Party (TDP). Surprisingly, within 8-9 months after the establishment of TDP, it was able to capture political power at AP range. And, NTR assumed the role of Chief Minister of AP. Thus, for the first time, a sensational political record was carved by NTR through TDP. Before NTR and TDP; the INC was able to rule AP successfully as a ‘single dominant political player’.

TDP and NTR had thrown a challenge to the ‘INC model of politics’. The ‘INC model of politics’ can be recognized by a few features, like;

01. Extension of patronage to a predominant community/caste at regional level and sustaining political base at the regional level and national level;

02. Co-option of various communities and sections;

03. Extension of Chief Ministerial position at the regional level to a powerful community;

Veteran Indian Political Scientist Rajani Kothari was the first person to coin and figure-out ‘INC model of politics’. Since then, Political Scientists acknowledged the significance of this usage in various modes of analytical discourses.

The INC model of politics also started to witness challenges from powerful land-owning communities since the end of 1960’s. Since the end of 1960’s a few agriculturally prosperous communities, especially in the North Indian zone started to capture political power by successfully launching regional political parties. The success of TDP under NTR and Kamma community’s enthusiastic patronage can also be understood in this direction only. The Kamma community tried its chances of capturing political power under the Communist Party of India (CPI), but failed in its attempts for a few decades. The subsequent success of TDP and NTR fulfilled the ambitions of the Kamma community in the political realm.

II

NTR developed a relationship with LP during his late age. LP was roughly 38 years of age when she became the second wife of NTR, and NTR was approximately 70 years old by then. The prime reasons behind NTR’s decision to (re)marry LP, hopefully, were due to;

a) his loneliness after first wife’s death

b) his children also got well settled, and they were leading their respective family lives, independently; so, there was no one to look after him at a crucial old age, when he was in desperate need of life’s companion; and

c) he was also alone without having full-fledged participation in politics for a specified duration; during this phase, he developed this relationship with LP, which ultimately led to remarriage.

This third view of opinion was primarily expressed by a senior political journalist in AP, i.e., Inuganti Venkata Rao, in one of his Interviews to a popular online web-source. This interview can be found over;

Senior Editor Inuganti Venkat Rao Exclusive Interview || Talking Politics With iDream Media

Apart from this Interview of senior political journalist Inuganti Venkat Rao, there also exists a broad range of other interviews from various persons at different points of time; who expressed and justified NTR’s remarriage with LP from the above first two points of views of expressions (i.e., a & b). For instance, one of the TDP’s prominent leaders and Member of Legislative Assembly (MLA), on a few occasions, Mr. Devineni Rajashekar (Nehru) expressed his view of opinion about NTR’s remarriage with LP from first and second versions of ideas. Devineni Nehru expressed this view in one of his big interviews to journalist Vemuri Radha Krishna on a popular television show called ‘Open Heart with RK.’ In this sequence, Devineni Nehru also recollected his association with TDP, NTR, LP, etc. in another interview;

MSR Hot Seat with Ex MLA Devineni Nehru Part 1 || No.1 News

MSR Hot Seat with Ex MLA Devineni Nehru Part 2 || No.1 News

In this version of Devineni Nehru’s Interview, he recollected and shared his association with LP and about his view of LP’s leadership aspirations, etc. In-fact, Devineni Nehru worked under LP for a brief while, as a politician and MLA.

Thus, all this indicates that NTR had his reasons to choose LP as his second wife at a crucial time of his life.

Now, coming to other perceptions and dimensions on how this remarriage of NTR and LP was perceived by various sections of society, TDP, NTR family members, etc.

First and foremost, the second remarriage of NTR with LP became a sensational news for some while. And, on the AP political scene LP became a center of attraction. There were wide range of comments, satires, opinions, etc. expressed from various vantage points across the political and social circles. But, the negative intensity over the years and days got hiked against the LP, primarily. The prime reason towards this end emanated from NTR’s family members like his sons and daughters families, etc. The focal center of attraction of NTR family in politics revolved in the form of his two son-in-laws, they were; Daggubati Venkateswara Rao & Nara Chandrababu Naidu. These two son-in-laws of NTR led their respective party groups and competitive politics. Since NTR’s remarriage with LP, which was disliked by almost all his family members; the role and actions of these two son-in-law’s became crucial and suspicious.

Thus, in a certain sense, it can be understood that the activities of NTR family members to some extent brought light to LP in the mainstream media, society, and party. It was observed and felt, that the two son-in-law’s of NTR played crucial roles in ousting him from Chief Ministerial position by showing LP as the prime reason behind such decision and action in the August, 1995 political coup!!

III

In this particular scenario, two questions might attempt to search reasonable answers; they include the following:

01. Why LP became a critical contestation point of negative attraction to the TDP leaders and caders?

02. How and why NTR son-in-laws led such a massive discontent and ousted NTR & made TDP aloof to him?

These two questions are very focused in dealing with various individuals political history under TDP. But, at present, our prime focal attention concentrates only upon LP, if required vis-a-vis other political leaders, like one’s from the NTR family.

The personal, professional, social and family background of LP was projected, seen and perceived in negative mode by various sections of society. In this sequence, a full range of negative news about LP primarily; and NTR, in general, got propagated.

A few aspects of such propagated, promoted and perceived news and opinions are as follows;

01. LP and NTR entered into an unholy martial relationship, though the former’s husband was still alive;

02. LP systematically trapped NTR; as a result, the later was under evil capture of the former;

03. The ultimate aim, goal, and target of LP would be to shift NTR & TDP under her leadership, systematically. Such suspected quality of LP could be a terrible quality of a evil spirited woman (against cherishable noble and humble qualities of women, like being subservient to the husband, etc). But, NTR was not able to realize facts correctly and was under an illusion of LP.

04. Since NTR was aging and developing health complications; the next heir to TDP would be certainly LP; this would be a significant setback to the prospects of TDP’s future, leader’s political ambitions and cader’s enthusiasm.

On the whole, the character assassination of LP went on a massive scale. Same time, there was a certain amount of confusion over the authenticity of various individual views and opinions under circulation among the mainstream media and public. Amidst of such prevalent circumstantial atmosphere, it was rumored and believed on certain grounds, that there were hands and stint of a few NTR family members in this entire scenario; towards this end, fingers were pointed out, primarily towards his son-in-law, that too in particular against Nara Chandrababu Naidu.

Nara Chandrababu Naidu, the youngest son-in-law of NTR; had a systematic personal and professional build-up. A certain part of such build-up also resulted in getting him married to NTR’s youngest daughter. After marriage with NTR’s daughter, Chandrababu Naidu had his plans and wished to be successful further in politics, first in the Indian National Congress (INC) and later by shifting his political allegiance to the family party TDP. Ultimately, he was successful in realizing his dreams and wishes under TDP over the years. The effective rolling path of Chandrababu Naidu in TDP – it was observed, rumored and believed; resulted in maintaining different kinds of strategic roles even after NTR’s remarriage with LP. Since NTR’s remarriage with LP in 1993, it was found, that particular diplomatic silence was maintained by a few NTR family members, keeping in view upcoming elections to the AP Legislative Assembly. Not only NTR family members, even parts of TDP, who were uncomfortable with NTR’s style of functioning also maintained silence for a right time to take proper decision. After massive electoral victory to TDP in December, 1994; NTR assumed the Chief Minister position of AP amidst of grandeur. But, within a few months in August, 1995 a massive political coup rebelled against NTR’s leadership and the prime reason shown towards this end was that LP was interfering in the affairs of TDP and government. There were various kinds of interpretations and views expressed at different points of time on ‘what kind of reasons and actions’ resulted in ousting NTR from the Chief Ministerial position and led to rechristening the same in favor of Nara Chandrababu Naidu. Among all such views and expressions, one of the prominent inclination was role and interference of LP in TDP and government.

IV

There developed three primary political power centers within TDP since its inception; they include NTR visibly as principal founder and first leader. Apart from NTR, at times sidetracking NTR also, another two power centers colluded and competed, they were the two son-in-laws of NTR; Dr. Daggubathi Venkateswara Rao and Nara Chandrababu Naidu.

The successful emergence of LP, as a family member of NTR, started to pose a challenge to the political power centers of his son-in-law’s. As a result, the two son-in-laws of NTR perceived LP as a threat to their political aspirations and continuation of their base in the TDP. As a result, these persons, in collusion with other NTR family members and other sources within TDP and outside TDP had masterminded to put a check to NTR & LP. This master political plot ultimately resulted in the bitter outbreak of political coup of August, 1995.

On all pragmatic, technical, legal and constitutional grounds this August, 1995 political coup was a successful one. NTR, the founder, and pride asset of TDP lost his base, primarily due to his remarriage with LP!! After this bitter, sour political coup, NTR lived only for a few months. Ultimately NTR breathed his last in January, 1996. After the sudden tragic demise of NTR, in the subsequent duration, the consolidated political base in favor of Nara Chandrababu Naidu as Chief Minister of AP and as supreme leader of TDP was established firmly.

Same time, the role and prospects of LP got diminished considerably and ultimately led to her disappearance on the political scene as a prominent political center of attraction. Thus, re-emergence of political base and centre within TDP rechristened in favor of Nara Chandrababu Naidu. The August, 1995 political coup, sidetracked, in due course of time various political power centers in TDP. All such power centers ‘existing and aspired to’ were among the family members of NTR only, like; two son-in-laws, two sons of NTR, LP as the second wife of NTR!! Among these existing and aspiring political power centers, LP got a humiliating oust, first in the form of NTR’s rejection as Chief Minister and TDP’s President, and then in the second phase by losing her political base completely in AP (after NTR’s death).

V

Thus, all this indicates that the leadership qualities of LP marched under two prime fronts, they include;

01. Since LP’s remarriage with NTR to NTR’s death, and
02. Since NTR’s death onwards;

In the first innings of LP’s political career, she was an undisclosed active insider having ability to favour and disfavour individual persons and sections by influencing NTR’s leadership decision capabilities; this role of her posed a serious check to the NTR’s son-in-laws, primarily. This inside interfering suspected nature and abilities of LP was shown, as one of the prime reasons for ousting NTR from TDP in August, 1995.

The prominent and direct role of LP started since NTR’s death in January, 1996. And, her active political career went-on during 1996-1999. Thus, though the direct leadership qualities of LP started to bud since 1996-1999, ultimately her leadership failed to blossom.

After NTR’s death, LP led a new political outfit in the form of NTR-TDP; the original TDP as established by NTR, after August, 1995 political coup, as per the Election Commission of India (ECI) guidelines was recognised as a separate and original entity under the leadership of Nara Chandrababu Naidu. There was a tussle between NTR led TDP, and Nara Chandrababu Naidu led TDP sections over TDP assets and party symbol, etc. Ultimately, the ECI favoured and proclaimed verdict that all the assets, party symbol, etc. would be allocated to the TDP led by Nara Chandrababu Naidu as President. This ECI decision was seen as a humiliation by NTR-TDP section. Ultimately, NTR-TDP emerged as a separate political sect. After NTR’s death, LP led this NTR-TDP as a forefront leader. LP was able to become Member of Legislative Assembly (MLA) of AP after NTR’s death. Her role in the AP Legislative Assembly as MLA can also be analysed separately and in combination with the wider AP political discourse.

During the summer of 1996, Lok Sabha general elections held. Participation in this election was a first and prime challenge to the NTR-TDP to face and prove. The ultimate result of 1996 Lok Sabha elections was bitter and led to almost closer of NTR-TDP. During this election campaign and since 1995 August political coup onwards LP started to brand and accuse Nara Chandrababu Naidu as a cheater and traitor and pleaded the voters to reject the false TDP under Nara Chandrababu Naidu’s leadership and extend patronage to her NTR-TDP outfit!!

On the other side, Nara Chandrababu Naidu’s election campaign, role, activism, etc. as Chief Minister and as President of TDP started to get well consolidated. Nara Chandrababu Naidu had an active base from ground level with full leaders and cadre presence, support from Kamma community, financial viability, a significant media support, a section of NTR family member’s patronage, etc.

LP as leader of NTR-TDP failed to project and build a proper political base, on pragmatic grounds; instead, she showed an individual (Nara Chandrababu Naidu) as a traitor and sought political support. LP failed to carve political space, even when opposition party INC was weak in AP, which witnessed a humiliating massive defeat in 1994 general election to the AP Legislative Assembly.

At a certain point in time, a comparative analysis of LP and Nara Chandrababu Naidu’s leadership qualities need analysis; because LP attempted to pose a challenge to the Nara Chandrababu Naidu led TDP. And, Nara Chandrababu Naidu led TDP also faced and dealt with LP led TDP. The final result oriented in favour of Nara Chandrababu Naidu’s leadership and LP led NTR-TDP started to vanish from the AP political scene entirely.

NTR-TDP under LP’s leadership failed to grab a significant vote share either from INC or TDP led by Nara Chandrababu Naidu. At the same time, this outfit cannot dare to have an electoral alliance with INC also; because TDP’s birth took place as an anti outfit to INC!! Thus, on all pragmatic sides, NTR-TDP under LP’s leadership failed to carve a niche on the AP political scene. But, at some point in time LP wished to have an electoral alliance with the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). She even got succeed in posting an alliance with BJP during 1998 mid-term Lok Sabha elections. But, the terms and conditions of this partnership were unsatisfactory to NTR-TDP with regard to seats sharing. Ultimately, this electoral allied union of BJP & NTR-TDP failed to secure electoral victory.

The long-standing leadership qualities and role of Nara Chandrababu Naidu, primarily since his college days as a student leader and then as a full-fledged politician under INC and TDP frayed well in sustaining his base after August, 1995 political coup and subsequent NTR’s death. But, one of the prime negative qualities and features of Nara Chandrababu Naidu was lack of oratory skill. On the other side, LP was blessed abundantly with oratory skills but lacked other practical expertise and resources like; long-standing political experience, lack of money on a comparative basis, proper base and support from the ground level, etc. Thus, ultimately, the political scene tilted in favour of Nara Chandrababu Naidu’s leadership in capturing and sustaining his base in TDP.

LP lost in both cases, in the first, as an inside influencer of politics as the wife of NTR and later as leader of NTR-TDP.

The final AP Legislative Assembly results of 1999 routed NTR-TDP completely.

Thus, LP lost her political base in the two phases, as mentioned above.

VI

But, in the subsequent duration, after a few years, LP started to appear on the AP political scene, now and then, as a countering opponent to the TDP (especially to the Nara Chandrababu Naidu leadership and to a few NTR family members). This new role appeared as a useful revenge source to the opposition parties, like Yuvajana Shramika Rythu Congress Party (YSRCP).

This new avatar of LP can be seen and analysed as; taking ultimate revenge against TDP and NTR family which humiliated her. But, her actions continue under the guise as taking a politically right stand against malicious, untrustworthy Nara Chandrababu Naidu and other NTR family members!!By posting as taking a politically correct position; she is favouring the opposition political parties and fulfilling personal revenge!!

Thus, her present leadership, which had two unsuccessful phases previously, under TDP and NTR-TDP; started to have another phase which assists the opposition parties, primarily YSRCP. She is at present an active participant of YSRCP activities, as a regular Party member.

LP was not in a position to forge a pragmatic electoral alliance as leader of NTR-TDP during 1990’s, especially with INC, due to a prevalent political stance. That’s an understandable position in those days. But, LP after ceasing to be the leader of NTR-TDP started to pose a pragmatic ‘resonating-alliance’ with the opposition parties like YSRCP. The prime reason behind this new found alliance is based on; common enemies of TDP were becoming friends, i.e., YSRCP & LP!! This new political strategy is a shadow political step of LP taken not as a leader of NTR-TDP, but on personal grounds!!

Perceptions over Chiranjeevi’s First Phase of Political Innings

Chiranjeevi entered politics as a leading Tollywood star in the year 2008. He chose and opted to enter politics when his professional career in the Tollywood started to continue in a slow mode. There were three varied opinions made and making air among the public; why and how Chiranjeevi chose to venture into the political career? They are as follow;

01. The enthusiastic chanting slogans of Chiranjeevi’s fans since 1990’s end or early 2000 decade onwards as ‘future Chief Minister of Andhra Pradesh’; exposure to such kind of atmosphere from fans and others must have developed and installed aspirations and ego to enter into politics and prove himself!!

02. Though Chiranjeevi, his family, and his community-acquired large scale fame through Tollywood in the Telugu and Indian society; in reality, such popularity resulted in bringing some problems in society too from a few established families and persons, like from those in politics, etc. Hence, he visualized that having a successful venture and sustenance in politics can shift edge in his favor, which again can result in producing tangible results to him, his family, his people/community, etc.

03. And, the last, but not the least; having acquired and witnessed satisfactory innings in life through Tollywood; must have made himself to realize and gain another level of competent innings in society and politics. Thus, he must have opted to enter politics to have next level of strong innings.

Critics looked at this third dimension from human beings inbuilt desire to acquire and experience one desire after the other in a sequential mode as per the personal calling and aspirations. Anyhow, this last and third level of aspiration can also be seen and understood independently or in relation to the above other two factors.

II

But, the ultimate question comes to the focus is; how to understand his political entry and how to judge his abilities and capabilities in this domain?

Chiranjeevi launched Praja Rajyam Party (PRP) just before nine months to go for elections to the Andhra Pradesh Legislative Assembly and Lok Sabha constituencies. This step of him was seen as an aspirational desire to break the record of Nandamuri Taraka Rama Rao (NTR), the founder of the Telugu Desam Party (TDP) who established and captured Chief Ministerial position in nine months after the establishment of TDP!! But, Chiranjeevi rejected such observations and claimed not to interlink and perceive real life and political things with ‘film breaking records type’!!?? Thus, he pleaded, in interactions to the media that such observations of attempting to break the records of NTR & TDP were entirely false and unfair equations.

Even before the launching of PRP by Chiranjeevi much positive uproar was aired in the mainstream media and society that the Andhra Pradesh polity and society may march towards an unprecedented trend; putting a check to the much dominant Reddy & Kamma castes in politics. Towards this direction, a few started to visualize this pattern and shift from PRP/Chiranjeevi & Kapus as a step towards achieving and bringing social justice.

Those who aspired that a change may creep-in with the launch of PRP and Chiranjeevi under Kapu’s majoritarian vote bank and resources expected that marginalized communities like Scheduled Castes (SC’s), Scheduled Tribes (ST’s), Backward Classes (BC’s), etc. may get adequate space in this new discourse. But, such aspirations, in reality, got shattered. There was a wide range of acquisitions and allegations that the PRP under Chiranjeevi’s leadership turned out to be another mainstream political party, without bringing any alternative political culture. Towards this ends, a wide range of allegations was made, like that the PRP leadership sold out party constituencies tickets to wealthy and powerful sections; betraying ‘social justice’ principle.

Chiranjeevi before and after launching of PRP made statements prominently that his PRP’s sole goal was to bring about ‘social justice.’ Thus, ‘Social Justice’ became a caption of PRP. And, masses aired expectations from such vantage points only. Ultimately, a full range of discontent ventilated by those who believed that PRP failed to stand up to the expectations of the ‘social justice’ principle. Media prominently covered such dissatisfaction.

Thus, from this blog post, it can be noted that in the first category, a few sections had an objective reading of what factors must have driven Chiranjeevi to consider political entry. In the second subsequent turn, after the launch of PRP, how masses got dissatisfied with their perceived breach of ‘social justice’ principle.

Thus, all this indicates, that the masses possess an objective and subjective reading of high profile persons and ultimately develop their ‘justification‘ in analysing them in relation to projected and promoted ideas and actions.

Note: This blog post can be read along with/in relation to a few other previous blog posts posted on this blog, like;

Tollywood Lead Actors’ and Political Aspirations: An Outlook into Three Generations

First Phase of Innings: Acting and Political Dynamics of Chiranjeevi & Pawan Kalyan

Kapu’s Dual Edged Aspirations

Chief Ministerial Position: A Recognistion of Caste Domination

 

National Seminar on ‘Politics of Inclusion: Empowering Minorities in India’

The Department of Political Science, University of Hyderabad organized and hosted a National Seminar on ‘Politics of Inclusion: Empowering Minorities in India,’ during September 5-6, 2017.

On the sidelines of this National Seminar, I had presented a Paper entitled ‘Political Strategies and Deliberations over Muslim Backward Classes Inclusion: The Distinctive Case in Andhra Pradesh & Telangana.’ The abstract of this Paper is as follows;

Abstract

The Concepet Note of this National Seminar is as follows;

Politics of Inclusion

The tentative Programme Schedule of this National Seminar is as follows;

Programme schedule of Minority Politics

Mohammed Ghouse, Post Doctoral Fellow, Department of Political Science, University of Hyderabad was the prime source behind organising this National Seminar. But, technically the credit was acknowledged under Sri Chandrasekhara Rao as Convenor of this National Seminar.