Respect verdict of people in 2014 elections & role of regional parties: K Keshava Rao జూన్ 4, 2013Posted by M Bharath Bhushan in BJP, Congress, elections, politics, Telangana.
Tags: elections 2014
Have quit Congress with a heavy heart: K Kesava Rao
Prashanth Chintala, Business Standard, June 4, 2013
Interview with Ex- chief, Andhra Pradesh Congress Committee
Septuagenarian K Kesava Rao was associated with the Congressparty for almost five decades. The 72-year-old journalist-turned-politician had also held key posts in the party like the president of the Andhra Pradesh Congress Committee and a member of the Congress Working Committee. The maverick politician quit the Congress on Sunday and joined the Telangana Rashtra Samithi(TRS), which is spearheading the movement for securing separate statehood to the Telangana region. In an interview with Prashanth Chintala on the eve of joining TRS, Rao says he is leaving the Congress with a heavy heart. Edited excerpts:
You have been associated with the Congress for five decades and also held important posts in the party. Why are you quitting now?
It is with a heavy heart that I have decided to disassociate myself from the Congress party on the issue of Telangana (separate statehood for the region). I have no grievance or complaint against the party. In fact, I hold that its secular credentials and philosophy of inclusiveness are the best bet for nation’s security and growth. But, in the present context, they are no substitute for my Telangana. Now that the Congress is not going to give Telangana, at least in the near future, I cannot continue to deceive myself further, more so the people at large. I need to take their call.
What will be the impact of your resignation and the two Congress MPs on the party as well as the Telangana movement?
Let us be very truthful in these things. The resignations are not a game changer. They should bring some kind of moral pressure, not political pressure. Can a single MP from Congress today come and tell me that he is going to win in the ensuing elections?
Have the MPs resigned because they are not confident of retaining their seats as Congress candidates in the next general elections?
That is all the reason, that means people are asking for Telangana. In fact, the answer lies in your question. The very fact that the MPs are saying that we can’t win indicates people are not going to vote for them. That means people want a separate Telangana state. If you can’t respect the verdict of people, you have no business to be in public life.
You have been advocating a separate Telangana state even before the current movement for a separate statehood picked up. Why do you think that there should be a separate state for the region?
Actually, Telangana and Andhra have been separate states. Our demand for self-rule is as old as the state itself. There are cultural differences. Also, no effort had been made for emotional integration of people of the two regions ever since Andhra Pradesh was formed. Only now, after the movement for a separate statehood picked up, our music, our songs and our literature are getting due recognition. Otherwise, if you see old cinemas, you will find that only villains, rowdies, auto rickshaw drivers and domestic servants speak in Telangana accent, not heroes or heroines.
You used to say that the Congress alone is capable of carving out a separate state for Telangana. Now, do you believe that the TRS will be able to secure a separate state for the region?
Basically, in a coalition government, it is not necessary that only Congress or any other national party like Bharatiya Janata Party can do it. The present surveys indicate that regional parties rule the roost. Today, national parties are coming to power with the support of regional parties.
You have held key positions in the Congress. How come you have failed to convince the party high command in giving a statehood for Telangana?
I would not immediately say it is the failure of the national leadership or failure of the approach. The Congress party is not able to respond to regional leadership. Entire demands in the country today have become political, not statesman like. Political demands are all about someone trying to get some post or the other. There is a difference between political response and statesman like response. I will immediately attend to the political need of a particular leader. A statesman like response envisions what exactly the nation wants.
You mean to say that the Congress leadership lacks vision?
I won’t say vision but the very approach is lacking. It is true that they are looking towards the regions but they are not understanding the regional moods.
What could be your role in TRS?
At this age of 72 years, I am not looking for any roles. That is why I am not going to contest in the elections. My role will be to see that the TRS will become a people’s movement. It has to emerge as a political face of the people’s movement. It should go down to the people, mobilise them, enthuse them and empower them. I always consider that a small state is for a small man. I look towards the empowerment of backward classes through the TRS for Telangana.
Are you joining TRS unconditionally?
Absolutely unconditional because a movement is never conditional. The TRS is only an instrument, it is a car we are using ( for securing Telangana state).
You have your own vision about how the movement should go forward, is it coinciding with that of TRS president K Chandrasekhara Rao (KCR)?
Any sane person has to agree that he is working for people. Perhaps, he (KCR) might differ over strategies to be adopted. I must play a role as a catalyst to see that both of us will get an easy way to coordinate.
You said neither you nor your family members will contest the ensuing elections. But there could be nominated posts for you.
If I have not differed with Soniaji on Telangana. I would have got anything today given the kind of love, affection and respect she gave me. So, if it is only posts, I could have stayed back in Congress. I can as well nominate people, why get nominated.
Some of the pro-Telangana leaders belonging to other parties like the Telugu Desam have also resigned and are preparing to contest in the next elections. How do you ensure that they would not contest against each other?
My effort will be to see that there is no split in the Telangana vote. Candidates also should think whether such contests will help the cause of Telangana and take decisions accordingly.