Tuesday, 3 June 2008

Telangana crisis in the Telugu Desam: No T-talk in the party for now


By Syed Akbar
June 3, 2008
Hyderabad: The by-election results have silenced the voice of Telangana protagonists in the Telugu Desam. It was the Telangana Rashtra Samithi that had failed to impress upon Telangana voters, but unwittingly the poor performance of the TRS had its echo in the Telugu Desam.
Those who have been vociferous in the Telugu Desam with their Telangana demand have suddenly become silent. They did not muster enough courage even to participate in the victory celebrations at the party headquarters, NTR Bhavan.
Now they do not have the Telangana ammunition to keep Telugu Desam president and former chief minister N Chandrababu Naidu on tenterhooks. The mandate against the TRS has made it clear that a majority of voters are still in favour of united Andhra Pradesh, notwithstanding the electoral tantrums of some senior politicians in
major political parties.
Chandrababu Naidu has emerged more powerful in the Telugu Desam after the by-elections. He did not succumb to T-pressure from senior leaders including T Devendar Goud during the height of electioneering.
The TD supremo simply declared that he was not against Telangana, but consistently maintained that NT Rama Rao had formed the Telugu Desam for the unity and self-respect of Telugu-speaking people.
Now that the T-sentiment failed to work, Chandrababu Naidu is likely to crack the whip. The ensuing Mahanadu of the Telugu Desam will talk about only the "development plank" and not about the "division" of the State. If the initial reaction of Devendar Goud to the by-poll results is any indication, the T leaders in the party will not make much noise at the Mahanadu.
Chandrababu Naidu has, in a way, made known his stand on united Andhra Pradesh clear when newly-elect legislator and his confidante Talasani Srinivas Yadav declared that "I won on united Andhra Pradesh plank and not on Telangana stand". He addressed a press conference at NTR Bhavan. It is an open secret that whoever addresses
media from NTR Bhavan gets prior approval from the party supremo.
Incidentally, Srinivas Yadav is a bete noire of Devendar Goud and his statement makes it clear that Chandrababu Naidu will no longer tolerate any T-talk in the party, at least for now.
There was strange electoral paradoxes too. Telugu Desam leaders who wrote T-slogans on walls during by-poll campaign lost, while those who were moderate in their T demand romped home. C Narsi Reddy, who contested from Dommata, made Telangana an issue in his campaign but could not win over the voters. Srinivas Yadav did not
speak of Telangana even once and yet he won. E Dayakar Rao, who won from Warangal Lok Sabha, is a known T activist. But he maintained a low profile during the campaign and harped on the development plank.

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