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Rayalaseema Movement Gathering Steam

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(Kuradi Chandrasekhar Kalkura)

Sonia Gandhi and the Congress have been and will forever be faulted, accused, punished and convicted for the blunder of bifurcation of AP in 2014. They have to bear the brunt and any of amount of explanations by them will not satisfy the annoyed, irritated and jeopardized Andhras.  Let us not go back to 1956, unification of the Telugu speaking people and 1970 -71 when Dr.Chenna Reddy led the Separate Telangana movement through the Telangana Praja Samithi. (TPS).  It is enough, if we examine the recent events that led to the creation of Telangana.

K Chandarasekhar Rao (KCR), an articulate and eloquent speaker, voracious reader, known for fluency in Telugu, Urdu, Hindi and English started his career with the Youth Congress under the leadership of Sanjay Gandhi when the ‘Party was in bad shape’. Later in 1982, he became a founder member of the Telugu Desam Party (TDP) founded  by NT.Rama Rao. Though lost the first election in 1983, he won all the successive elections he contested. In 1987 -’88 and again in 1996 -’99 he was a Cabinet Minister in the Cabinets of NTR and Nara Chandrababu Naidu. (Babu/Naidu)  After the 1999 elections he was denied the Cabinet birth and was elected a Dy.Speaker, apparently a demotion. Humiliated and disappointed  KCR resigned in 2001 and floated Telangana Rashtra Samiti (TRS). Naidu made light of his leadership. However the Congress, led by Y.S.Rajesekhar Reddy (YSR) identified the strength of KCR and visualized Telangana sentiments. Joining hands, in 2004, Congress and TRS shared the spoils of TDP’s defeat to form a coalition Govt in AP and KCR along with Narendra, another flamboyance leader, joined the NDA’s Manmohan Singh Cabinet at the centre. By 2006 the relationship became sour. They parted company. In 2009 KCR allied with TDP. Congress, due to whatever reasons, (Primarily opposition votes sharing by the Prajarajyam of cine star Chiranjeevi.) bounced back to power. Tragedy struck AP on 2nd Sept, 2009, when YSR succumbed to a plane crash in Nallamala Hills. Had YSR survived the full term till 2014, he by hook or crook, by persuasion or pressure would have quieted the Telangana Movement. Andhra Pradesh would not have been divided.

One sideline fact: Though the strong man of Punjab, Pratap Singh Kairan (1901- Feb.1965) ceased to be the Chief Minister (from Jan. 1956 to June, 1964,) as long as he was alive, Punjab remained united. After his assassination in Feb, 1966, the Haryana Movement raised its hoods and within nine months thereon, on 1st Nov. 1966, the Haryana State came into existence. Reverting to TRS and KCR, parting company from TDP and Babu, KCR found weak chief ministers in  Rosaiah and Kiran Kumar Reddy. Agitation was revived with redoubled vigor.  YS

Jaganmohan Reddy claiming succession to YSR’s legacy floated his own, YSR Congress Party (YSRCP) and won few byelections during 2010 and 2013. Congressmen in Telangana promised the high command, winning a majority seats to the Lok Sabha and forming the Govt, provided the State were to be bifurcated,  KCR was also appeasing the Centre of its joining a coalition with the Congress. Unfortunately both the TDP and the BJP fished in the troubled water. While BJP actively supported the Movement, TDP adopted a hide and seek approach. Growing unrest in Hyderabad and Telangana, led by TRS, was alarming.  A panic stricken UPA government at the centre headed by Manmohan Singh announced the bifurcation of A.P. To remind, seeds of Telangana Movement were laid when KCR was denied a cabinet berth by Babu in 1999.

However the Congress had to bear the brunt of bifurcation; Sonia Gandhi the main target. It was routed in AP and TDP captured power. Naidu was sworn in as the CM of the truncated AP in June, 2014. From that moment, rejecting all scientific and technological reasons and considered opinions and well documented reports, for developmental activities, he is concentrating on Guntur, Vijayawada and Amaravati. His stress on the development of Hyderabad in the previous terms can be recollected. That is causing concern in the backward regions ofRayalaseema and  North Coastal Andhra.  IYR Krishna Rao, former Chief Secretary of residuary Andhra Pradesh, has brilliantly diagnosed the malaise in his well documented book:  YEVANI RAJADHANI

For the last three years, everyday, there have been agitations and unrest causing disturbance to normal life in some corner or other of Rayalaseema. The physical strength of these meetings and gatherings may be in hundreds and few thousands, what has to be kept in mind that the crowd is not borrowed nor paid; voluntary gathering. Osmania and Kakatiya Universities, apart from some more reputed Govt and aided academic institutions, were hosting the Telangana agitators; but, even stealthily none in Rayalaseema. Yet the youth and student communities are involving themselves in all the demands viz assured water by constructing Gundrevula and Siddeswaram and through the existing,  K.C.Canal, Srisailam Right Branch Canal (SRBC), Galeru Nagari Srujala Sravanti Scheme (GNSSS), Handri Nieva Srujala Sravanti Scheme (HNSSS), Telugu Ganga Project (TGP),  drawing  water from   Pothireddypadu Head Regulator and Banakacharla escape chanal. Other demands include: Steel Factory in Kadapa district,Central University at Anantapur; AIIMS at Kurnool; Telugu University at Srisailam; Agricultural University in Tangadancha  in Kurnool district,  making use of the Shamshabad and Devanahalli Airports promoting Kurnool – Hindupur- Industrial corridor.  Ignoring Guntakal for establishing Railway Zone is an unmistakable fault. Railways already have tracks on all directions and spacious vacant land, vast, barren, government land between Guntakal and Gooty, is an added benefit.  On the other hand Visakhapatnam is an overcrowded city, with land crunch and tracks only on three directions.

The sprawling, 1,500 Thangadancha farm, in Kurnool Dist on Kurnool -Guntur highway is admittedly the most suited place in AP for Acharya  NG Ranga  Agricultural University.* With benevolent pride, we claim that the world renowned SONA MASURI or BPT 5204, was the result of a perspiring research by Prof M Venkatramana Reddy at the RARS, Nandyal. DrK Ravindarnath, cotton specialist evolved Narasimha cotton seed from the same place.  Both the rice and cotton, earn thousands of crores of foreign exchange. Further the nature of the soil, irrigation facilities, the existing and ongoing and climatic conditions here are conducive for experiments and research.  The government, however, proposes to purchase lands at exorbitant price in Coastal Andhra, and establish the institutions at the cost fertile lands. The resources proposed to be spent on purchasing the infrastructures are sufficient to build the institutions with the available infrastructures, particularly in Rayalaseema.

Second crop under the Low Level Canal (LLC) of the Tungabhadara Project and KC Canal has totally been stopped; except where there are self help lift irrigation facilities. Horticulture and floriculture has been drastically reduced. In living memory Gulayam in Halaharvi Mandal of Kurnool district was cultivating Jasmine flower in about 200 acres of land. Products were being exported to the Western parts

of Kurnool, Southern parts of Mahaboobnagar and Raichur and the Eastern parts of Bellary districts.  The River Vedavati @ Hagari which was supplying water having gone dry, the farmers were dependent on the  water of  LLC.  Water flows in the canal hardly for six months. Jasmine cultivation requires uninterrupted supply of water throughout the year. It has shrunk to less than 20 acres now with employees in double digit.

Another crop facing extinction is Banaganapalle Benisan, Mango, with a chequered history of centuries, the pride of Kurnool district in Rayalaseema. About 50 years back, there were about 5,000 acres of mango garden in the village and around. Mango cultivation requires regular manuring and plenty of water. Now,water table has drastically dipped to deeper than 200′. For the last fifteen years not a single acre of new garden has been raised. At present there are hardly 500 hundred acres of Mango Gardens in Banaganapalle.

In the meanwhile the migration of farm laborers continues unabated. Are the saplings for a second bifurcation, creation of Rayalaseema already planted and are they flowering and yield fruits in the near future?

Lawyers boycotted the Courts, called for an indefinite strike, since mid January, demanding the location of at least, a Bench of the High Court in Kurnool. It has been attracting the attention of the suffering litigant public also. Squarely the blame is on the TDP government led by Naidu. Civil Courts were closed for Sankranthi Vacation from 7, January 2018. They were reopened on 18, January.  Advocates from the Kurnool District, demanding institution of the High Court or at least a Bench in Rayalaseema had boycotted the Courts ever since the Courts reopened on 18th Jan. 2018. Stage by stage it spread to the entire region. It had attracted the attention of the suffering litigant public also. It was partially called off on 23rd March, 2018. The fire is out but the heat continues. The Sri Bagh Pact, Dt.Nov.16,1937, considered Magna Carta for the development of Rayalaseema, , categorically stated that, on any future date, if Andhra State were to be formed either the Capital or the High Court must be located in Rayalaseema. As a precedent, when Kurnool was the capital from 1953-’56, High Court was established in Guntur. Like Gayathri, the Pact is being chanted by the Rayalaseemites, regularly day in and day out for thousands of times.  All these days, the government has been indifferent and unresponsive. Of late it has become vindictive. The agitating advocates were beaten, prevented from representing to the appropriate authorities and taken into preventive custody. To cap it all, on the eve of the chief minister’s visit to Penukonda on February 22, 2018, many lawyers, irrespective of sex and age were ‘kept under house arrest’ from the previous night. This speaks volumes of the importance and severity of the agitation and the pulse of the people of Rayalaseema. The government is shivering. Here and there it is speaking through the ministers. Naidu is yet to open his lips.

At this point, when the Movement has reached an irreversible stage: “Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leaders of all the four districts of Rayalaseema, held a conference at Kurnool on February 23,2018 and made several declarations for the development of Rayalaseema.” Among them were: “Kurnool to be made the second capital, and establishment of High Court in the Rayalaseemaregion”. This is a clear case of hijacking the movement and escapism from the responsibility. The resolutions do not spell about the role of the Central Govt.

 

The BJP led NDA government at the centre has totally sidelined the Reorganization promises; constitutional or statutory or otherwise. It does not mention about the completion of the Polavaram project and diversion of Krishna Water to Rayalaseema.

Pappuri Ramacharlu, Kalluru Subba Rao,  H.Seetharama Reddy and Kadapa Koti Reddy, Signatories to the Sribagh Pact, and  Gadicharla Harisarvothama Rao and Cuttamanchi Ramalinga Reddy, who made it possible and scripted it,  must be shedding tears in their graves, as another son of the soil is sowing the seeds for yet another division of the State.

Nara Chandrababu Naidu doesn’t believe in decentralized administration. Are the saplings for a second bifurcation, creation of Rayalaseema already planted and are they flowering and yield fruits in the near future? With a defective vision, he is a man in a hurry to complete the formalities for the construction of Amaravati by 2019. Lacking faith in indigenous technology and talent, he is importing alien ones. Unresponsive to the needs of Rayalaseema, he does not evince a fraction of interest that he shows in Polavaram.  His latest drama is parting company with the NDA. Reasons for coming out, no-confidence motion against the Modi led NDA government, and ire against Narendra Modi and BJP are all for Polavaram and Amaravati.

 

*Kalkura is kurnool based activist. He can be contacted at <kalkurakurnool@gmail.com>