A new and significant chapter is added to almost six-decade long history of movement for bifurcating Andhra Pradesh and formation of Telangana state, with Tulla Devender Goud, second in command of Telugu Desam quitting the party over the anti-Telangana stand of the party.
Goud, who was a key figure in the party, politburo member and TDP’s deputy leader in the state assembly, quit the party on the ground that party leadership was not willing to take a favourable decision on the demand for Telangana.
“Instead of espousing the cause of Telangana people who were subjected to gross injustices and exploitation by Andhra leaders, the TDP leadership was indulging in the electoral arithmetic worrying that there were more assembly seats in Andhra than in Telangana,” Goud told his supporters after sending his resignation letter.
Though Goud has been raising the issue of Telangana for a long time within TDP, what provoked him to take the step now was the overnight change in the attitude of the party leaders. In the recent by-elections in Telangana region the TDP went to the people raising the slogan of “Jai Telangana” and claimed that the party was not opposed to Telangana state. But as soon as the TDP wrested one Lok Sabha and four assembly seats, the leadership went back and declared itself in favour of a United Andhra Pradesh.
The people of Telangana region have been demanding the formation of a separate Telangana state comprising of ten of the 23 districts, including the state capital, ever since the parts of erstwhile Hyderabad state were merged with Andhra to former Andhra Pradesh in 1956. Till then Telangana had a separate entity while Andhra was a separate state with its capital in Kurnool district.
So far the state has seen revival of Telangana demand three times and Devender Goud taking up the cause is being seen as the fourth phase of the movement. First time it was in 1952 that the people of Telangana forcefully made their case for remaining a separate state before the first state reorganisation commission headed by Justice Fazle Ali. But ignoring their sentiments and pleas, the then Congress leadership forcefully brought the two regions together to form the state.
When the worst fears of Telangana people that they will be subjected to political and economic injustice, came true, the demand for a separate state came up more intensely in1969 and in the ensuing agitation four hundred people died. The people voted overwhelmingly in support of Telangana Praja Samiti in 1971 Lok Sabha elections and it won 11 seats in the region. But TPS leader Marri Channa Reddy betrayed the people of Telangana in such a manner that it left Telanganites stunned for at least three decades. He led his party MPs into Congress at the behest of then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi without fulfilling the promise of formation of Telangana state.
Shocked by this deceit and backstabbing by their leader, Telangana people lost all the hopes and till 2001 nobody heard of Telangana again. It was left to K Chandrasekhkara Rao, another senior leader of the TDP to quit the party and launch the third movement for Telangana. Later he formed Telangana Rashtra Samiti and fought the 2004 elections in alliance with the Congress with the understanding that Telangana state will be formed in accordance with the aspirations of the people of the region.
But during the next four years nothing happened and TRS leadership too miserably failed in delivering its promise. When KCR-led TRS quit its seats in Parliament and Assembly in March leading to the by-elections, it was badly rejected creating a massive confusion in its ranks.
Even as the TRS was recovering from the shock and efforts were being made to revive the dormant Telangana movement, Goud has now plunged into the movement now. He is the first leader from the backward classes to take up the movement for the separate state. Known as a clever political strategist and resourceful person, Goud is now busy in consultations with the intellectuals, academicians and activists of the region to chart out his future course of action, which includes the formation of a new political party.
Prof. K. Jayashankar, an ideologue of Telangana movement said that there is no harm in Goud forming another party. “It will only double the strength of the movement provided Goud and KCR don’t work at cross purposes. Consolidation of pro-Telangana forces is the need of the hour,” he says.
What the likes of Prof. Jayashankar and R. Vidyasagar Rao are trying now is to bring all the Telangana forces on one platform with an eye on the next elections. “Telangana will become a reality through the 2009 elections,” says Goud.