Agitators divide the Gods డిసెంబర్ 23, 2009Posted by Telangana Utsav in agitation, Andhra, Culture, Identity, livelihoods, Mulki, politics, Rayalaseema, Telangana, TRS, Vemulawada.
Agitators divide Gods
Deccan Chronicle, December 23rd 2009, By Our Correspondent
Hyderabad, Dec. 22: So bitter is the feuding over a separate Telangana/United Andhra that even the gods have become victims of the agitations that have engulfed the state and divided people and parties.
Laddus prepared for the famous Kanakadurga temple in Vijayawada, which could not be sold because the flow of pilgrims was down to a trickle due to the frequent bandhs and strikes, were transported to other major temples by the endowments department. These included the Dwaraka Tirumala (Andhra region), Brahmaramba Mallikarjuna temple, Srisailam (in Kurnool district in Rayalaseema), Sri Raja Rajeswari temple, Vemulawada (Karimnagar district in Telangana).
The endowments department sent more than two lakh laddus to the Sri Raja Rajeshwari temple at Vemulawada, little suspecting that it was opening up yet another battleground.
As word spread about the arrival of the “Andhra laddus,” Telangana Rashtra Samiti (TRS) activists swooped down on the temple and staged a demonstration demanding that the temple authorities send back the laddus!
“Why should they bring laddus prepared for Kanakadurga to our temple? We will not let them to be sold here,” yelled a TRS activist. Endowments department officials, shocked at the turn of events, were forced to send back the laddus.
Laments the EO of the Kanakadurga temple, Mr Vijaykumar, “The gods are for all. Why should they divide even the gods? The sale of laddus has been hit by the bandhs and strikes here, so we decided to send them on to other major temples. We have no regional bias.”
The hundi collection in all the temples in all three regions, including Tirumala, has taken a beating due to the agitation and the restricted movement of pilgrims.
The TTD chairman, Mr Adikeshavulu Naidu, appealed to the agitators on both sides not to call for bandhs which affect pilgrimages and throw normal life out of gear.
Such pleas have so far fallen on deaf ears as the demand for separate statehood goes back a long way and has seen many twists and turns.
The 1969, the separate Telangana agitation was violent and claimed over 360 lives. There were direct attacks on people from the Andhra region in Telangana. But the agitation made the political fortunes of many.
Channa Reddy, a Telangana leader, became chief minister twice and many of his supporters became ministers and held other high positions.
Andhra leaders, too, like Mr N. Chandrababu Naidu, Mr Venkaiah Naidu, Mr Harirama Jogaiah and others shone in politics later. The division of the state remained a dream, but politicians won a pot of gold.
In 2009, the situation is different. It’s a fight between separate Telangana and a united Andhra Pradesh, laced with sporadic incidents of violence.
It began with the issue of Hyderabad being made a free zone for police recruitment and soon snowballed into an agitation for a separate Telangana.
It has been marked by politicians going on fasts-unto-death in the Gandhian manner, but even this was turned into a farce by the antics of people like the Congress MP, Mr Lagadapati Rajagopal.
Member of the Legislative Council, Mr Bhudati Radhakrishnaiah has a different take on the situation.
“The Andhra-Rayalaseema regions suffered most due to the merger with Telangana. Let us drop the Samaikya Andhra slogan and go for Jai Andhra, Rayalaseema. Why should we live with someone who doesn’t like us?” he says.
The main focus of Andhra and Rayalaseema leaders is Hyderabad, where they have huge stakes. However, Mr Y.S. Jagan Mohan Reddy, Mr N. Raghuveera Reddy and other Congress and Telugu Desam leaders also have business interests in neighbouring Karnataka and Tamil Naidu (in Bengaluru and Chennai). This is used by Telangana leaders to counter the argument for declaring Hyderabad a Union Territory.
“When they have no problem in Chennai and Bengaluru, why should they have a problem here? Only people having benami lands and those who are illegally in occupation of government and other lands should worry,” says Mr T. Harish Rao, an MLA of the TRS.
For the first time, the divisions are not along party lines but within parties too. There is a vertical split in the Congress, Telugu Desam and the Praja Rajyam on the issue of Telangana.
While the TD president, who has stakes in all the three regions, is allowing party leaders to have their way, the Praja Rajyam president, who has more MLAs from Andhra, has taken a pro-united Andhra stand. The ruling Congress is also permitting leaders of all the three regions to have their way. The resignations of several MLAs triggered quite a drama and left the Chief Minister, Mr K. Rosaiah, a mute spectator.
The Centre, which was also caught off guard, is now buying time.
“The Centre’s decision is very clear. It has decided to carve out a separate Telangana. The UPA chairperson, Mrs Sonia Gandhi, is known for keeping her word,” asserts the TRS president, Mr K. Chandrasekhar Rao.
Says Congress MP Lagdapati Rajagopal, “It’s like the separation of children from their mother. The state will prosper if united. We will go to any extent to save the state from division.”
The demand for separation stems from regional imbalances, denial of water for irrigation purposes and jobs for locals, flouting of Presidential Order, GO 610, among others.
“Every agreement jotted down after the 1969 agitation has been put on the backburner or flouted with impunity. There is a clear division of hearts and minds. Separation is the only solution,” says Prof. Jayashanker, a Telangana ideologue.