KCR Ruined His Chances in Telangana: Friend-Turned-Foe Kodandaram

Ahead of the 2018 Telangana assembly election, Prof M Kodandaram is part of an alliance against his old friend KCR.

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“Everyone in power thinks they are the most formidable force on earth and they will never be thrown out of power,” said professor M Kodandaram, sitting under the Telangana martyr memorial, just across the Telangana state Assembly.

A former professor at Osmania University, Kodandaram was the uniting force behind the demand for a separate Telangana state. He played a key role in making Telangana Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao the face of the movement years ago.

Although he had stayed away from electoral politics, Kodandaram is now part of an alliance against his old friend, KCR, ahead of the 2019 Telangana Assembly election.

‘Not the Telangana We Fought For’

Professor Kodandaram during a public rally. 
Professor Kodandaram during a public rally. 
Photo: Facebook/M Kondandram 

“When we fought for Telangana, we hadn’t asked for a mere geographical entity. We thought the Telangana state would be reflected in the aspirations of its people. The Telangana Rashtra Samiti (TRS) government has completely ignored these ideas, these objectives of the Telangana struggle,” he pointed out.

“They used the government as a machinery for the appropriation of public resources. This parasitic control over the people and the appropriation of public resources and public wealth in the interest of their family, is something unheard of in the past,” he said.

On Giving Up a Seat For the Alliance

Kondandram launched a political party, the Telangana Jana Samithi, which has entered in an alliance with the Congress and the Telugu Desam Party (TDP). Despite being the leader of the newly-formed party, he gave up his ticket for alliance partner Congress. It was a decision that surprised many.

But Kodandaram said he is not disappointed: “It is a learning process. I have realised that it (electoral politics) is a different ball game all together. We should have handled it a bit differently. But no grudge. In fact, I feel I am relieved from that responsibly so I can focus on the campaign.”

He compared the seat-sharing process to snatching a piece of mutton from a lion’s mouth. “Alliance-building is not an easy task at all. It is such difficult task, particularly with a party like the Congress. For some constituencies, the battle continues till the end. But we know that at this point, this unity is necessary to implement the common minimum programme, which we call the 'Telangana agenda',” he said.

‘Don’t Regret’ Making KCR the Face of Telangana

Kodandaram with Telangana Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao. 
Kodandaram with Telangana Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao. 
(File Photo: PTI)

Reflecting on his role in making KCR the face of the Telangana movement, he said the times were different during the struggle for Telangana. “We worked in a situation where we required some political support. At that point of time, he was willing to act as the political face of the Telangana movement. We had our own reservations, but there were no alternatives.”

The Contradiction of Joining Hands with TDP

In his struggle against the KCR, he has joined hands with the TDP, which had

Kondandaram acknowledged the contradiction of joining hands with the TDP, which had opposed the creation of Telangana as a separate state.

“In some respects, yes. In the sense that they were not in favour of Telangana, so it would be a reason (that) people would think ‘how we can work with them (TDP).’ But then, we thought that we can work on the basis of an agenda and a well-defined programme in the interest of the region. We may not be find it difficult to justify the alliance with the TDP,” he said.

Kodandaram believes that KRC won’t win the election because people are unhappy with his governance, his approach, and his attitude towards people and the issues. “He is an autocratic ruler who never allowed any democratic interactions with the people. So, all this has ruined his chances in the elections.” 

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