Sorry, No Merger
The Telangana Rashtra Samiti has done it again. Pulled a last-minute stunt on another political party. After blowing hot and cold with the Congress for a while, TRS supremo K Chandrasekhar Rao has called off the merger. Years ago, TD chief N Chandrababu Naidu learnt about this hard way when TRS pulled out of the Mahakutami (grand alliance) with it in 2009. Congress president Sonia Gandhi is getting a taste of KCR's political prowess now. Just a few days after TRS leaders busied themselves on phones talking about an impending merger, KCR says the merger is off. The reasons are many; some mandals of Khammam district being merged with the residual state of Andhra Pradesh, lack of power supply to Telangana, law and order in Hyderabad going to the governor, union minister Jairam Ramesh comparing KCR to the "anarchist" Arvind Kejriwal terming him a fighter, incapable of administration. The TRS also did not take kindly to Congress allowing suspended MP Vijayashanti into its fold.
The Voice of Telangana
"But ultimately, we feel that Seemandhra has two regional parties, the Telugu Desam and YSR Congress. Telangana too needs it own voice. Or else, there will be more such injustices meted out to Telangana," says KCR. Only recently, KCR and his family struck a cozy pose with Sonia Gandhi and the photos were circulated to various media houses. But a different pitch was being readied in Hyderabad. Talk of how Chiranjeevi's Praja Rajyam lost its identity after its merger with the Congress began doing the rounds in the Telangana Bhavan. The TRS won only 10 Assembly seats and 2 LS seats in the 2009 elections but its leaders are hopeful of a much fuller harvest given the fact that Telangana statehood has been granted. KCR's victory rally in Hyderabad made a lot of Congress leaders uneasy as they watched KCR project himself as the main leader of Telangana. KCR and family played nice while in Delhi waiting for the Bill to be passed.
Jairam Ramesh's remarks did the Congress no favours of course. During a meeting with Telangana Joint Action Committee leaders, Jairam Ramesh had remarked that if TRS emerges as a strong force in Telangana, it would be disastrous for the new state.
The Congress appears to have lost its way completely in terms of merger talks but like all good politicians, KCR has kept a window open. He has formed a committee which will look into possible alliance partners. So a TRS-Congress alliance might still form the next government in Telangana. But we are Indians, we love all the drama preceding an election.
Governor ESL Narasimhan might have just three months in hand as the state in-charge but he went all out to tell people that he means business. At his maiden press conference as ruler, Narasimhan said his priorities lay in education, health, investments, agriculture. He said law and order would be enforced strictly to ensure peace and progress in development programmes. The Governor also plans to hold janata darbars to understand problems of the people. The Governor's emphasis on law and order, while reassuring for investors, seems a bit off-key since both Seemandhra and Telangana regions have been fairly peaceful even after the bifurcation Bill was passed in both Houses of Parliament. Perhaps, Narasimhan's statements are a curtain-raiser to what lies in store for Hyderabad which will be a common capital for 10 years. The Bill clearly states that the Governor would be in charge of law and order and policing for the decade. This would not only be a novel experiment in the history of Hyderabad but in the country.
Some of the statements made by Narasimhan even indicate that he hopes for an extension. How else would he fulfil the agenda he outlined at the press meet which sounded more like a CM's address to the citizens on the first day of assuming charge. The Governor said he would be in constant touch with district collectors and other officials and monitor farmer' issues. He also plans to tour villages and get a grip of problems faced by people in rural areas. Quite a hectic timetable this.
The Owaisi Objection
One politician who's made clear his displeasure with the idea of a Governor being in-charge of law and order is MIM MP Asaduddin Owaisi. The party supremo outlined his concerns again while addressing party leaders on the occasion of MIM's 56th anniversary. Owaisi said such a move is against the spirit of democracy and violates the Constitution. Emphasizing his point, Owaisi said the Telangana Chief Minister would actually have no powers over his own capital. "The CM would have control over eight districts of the state while the Governor would rule the roost in Hyderabad and Ranga Reddy. Isn't this a violation of the Constitution?" he asked. Owaisi has again made a fervent plea to secular forces in the country to stop the BJP from coming to power in the country. Many political observers feel that this is what is primarily bothering Owaisi. The fact that if a BJP-led government comes to power at the centre, a Governor would also be an instrument of the central government. Though Owaisi looks all set to return as Hyderabad MP, his equations with the next government at the centre would play a crucial role in his political future. His ties with the Congress soured when brother Akbaruddin Owaisi was arrested by the Kiran Kumar Reddy government over an inflammatory speech. The MIM then pulled out of the UPA. Owaisi had remarked at the time that Kiran Kumar Reddy "was my friend while Jagan Mohan Reddy is a friend". But Jagan's recent remarks in favour of Narendra Modi have left the MIM flabbergasted. "If Jagan Mohan Reddy wants to play footsie with the BJP, we will have nothing to do with him or his party," warns Owaisi.
Chiranjeevi's younger brother and popular actor Pawan Kalyan is all set to launch a party. Inaugurating a healthy heart initiative walk on Necklace Road, the actor lashed out at politicians for keeping healthcare out of reach for the common man. In a press statement on Sunday, Pawan Kalyan a.k.a the Power Star, said he would launch a party soon. He has been holding a series of consultations with his fans and other well-wishers on the matter. Pawan Kalyan's last movie Attarintiki Daaredi (Show me the way to my mother-in-law's house) was a super hit and boosted the star's popularity even further. A few months back, there were rumours that Pawan Kalyan was in talks with the Telugu Desam which the actor later denied. The actor's ties with his brother Chiranjeevi have been icy of late. Pawan Kalyan was unhappy when Chiranjeevi decided to merge the Praja Rajyam Party with the Congress. At a recent film function, where older brother Nagababu's son was launched, Pawan Kalyan left early and avoided meeting Chiranjeevi. The two siblings have not been seen together in public for a long time. Speculation has been rife about Pawan Kalyan's personal life as well. He has reportedly been living in with a Russian woman with whom he shares a child. The Russian played a small role in Teen Maar, a remake of Love Aaj Kal. An intensely personal man, Pawan Kalyan neither accepts nor denies the existence of this relationship. In the statement, he denied having any differences with his brother. Pawan Kalyan is likely to contest from a Lok Sabha seat in coastal Andhra and will announce the name of his party soon.