Million March- TJAC and TRS మార్చి 19, 2011Posted by M Bharath Bhushan in Andhra, BJP, Congress, CPI, Culture, heritage, Hyderabad, Identity, KCR, KTR, livelihoods, Mulki, politics, Rayalaseema, regionalism, Settler, students, Telangana, youth.
Tags: KCR, Kodandram, Million March, statues, Tank Bund, TJAC
Professor who couldn’t steal a march on leader
Sreenivasa Janyala, Indian Express 14 March 2011
One is a politician, the other a professor of political science at Osmania University. Each is trying to upstage the other in the Telangana movement.
Telangana Rashtra Samiti (TRS) president K Chandrashekhara Rao wants to keep the agitation under his control but Prof M Kodanda Rama Reddy, 55, chairman of Telangana Joint Action Committee (TJAC), hopes to wrest the initiative.
On Thursday, the academician tried to make a statement with a “Million March” but the rally turned violent, with MPs attacked and statues of Telugu icons vandalised, and ended up putting a black mark on the professor’s reputation.
Prof Kodandaram, as he is popularly known, was trying to come out of KCR’s shadow when he called the march. The TRS sensed this and kept him guessing about its support. It initially agreed to deploy members for the rally but then withdrew, citing the inconvenience it would cause students appearing for final exams in schools and colleges
KCR did not want this professor to grab the limelight, so the party decided to refrain from participating, political analyst Venkat Rao says.
KCR did go to the venue but timed his arrival with the end of the rally. He waved and smiled at supporters, as if to take credit for what the rally had achieved, and left behind the professor to take the blame for the violence. The next day, the TRS claimed in the Assembly that the “Million March” had been a tremendous success.
Prof Kodandaram had first plunged actively into the Telangana movement in November 2009, after KCR had started a fast-unto-death and been arrested. As spontaneous student protests broke out on the campus, the professor took charge and formed the TJAC in January 2010. It was meant to be an all-party organisation to coordinate the Telangana movement but he could not get support from across parties, especially the TRS.
As KCR and his party maintained the first claim over the movement, Prof Kodandaram restricted himself to directing student protests at Osmania University.
Then he decided to go beyond the campus with his biggest initiative yet.
The Million March was aimed at mobilising 10 lakh people from across Telangana, enforcing a shutdown in Hyderabad and sending a message to the Centre to table a bill on Telangana in Parliament.
“After the build-up, it became a matter of prestige for Kodandaram to ensure the Million March was a success. It was the first time he was venturing out of Osmania University. If he called off the march it would have meant that the TJAC could not do without the support of TRS,” a member of the TJAC advocates panel conceded.
“On the other hand, the professor did not want criticism for disrupting the exams. As a face-saver, the TJAC decided to take out rallies and march towards Tank Bund near the state Secretariat at 1 pm, after the day’s exam was over, and wind it up at 4 pm after converging at Tank Bund. That way if TRS activists did not participate in large numbers, it would not show much,” the member said.
Things did not work out as planned. The TJAC began its rallies peacefully at 1 pm; the violence came from several TRS MLAs, leaders and workers who too had joined the march.
Under the aegis of the TJAC, doctors, lawyers, teachers, students and government employees marched towards Tank Bund peacefully but were stopped by police and paramilitary forces. The marchers sang folk songs and raised slogans.
The trouble started at the far end of Tank Bund where some activists, believed to be of the TRS, attacked MPs K Keshava Rao and Madhu Yashki Goud for not resigning to pressure the Centre to table a bill in Parliament to create a Telangana state. Then they vandalised the statues of several Telugu icons that stood on Tank Bund Road. A police vehicle and the van of a news channel were set on fire and at least 15 journalists were manhandled. The TJAC got all the blame.
Prof Kodandaram takes pains to clarify that none of his followers and marchers would have pulled down the statues if they were not instigated.
“I am not sure who instigated them but someone did. Students, advocates and teachers who only wanted to somehow reach Tank Bund to prove our point would never have attacked the MPs or vandalised statues. I received so many calls from jubilant students saying that they somehow managed to reach Tank Bund. It was a victory for them. Though there was pent-up anger due to police barricades and arrests, they would not desecrate statues or attack journalists. I am still verifying who was behind this mischief,” Prof Kodandaram said