KCR, Naidu hug, shake hands
Bonhomie on display at Alai Bali
Dattatreya persuades rivals to hug
KCR blasts Naidu soon after
Hyderabad, October 6: The hug Telangana Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao and his AP counterpart N Chandrababu Naidu must have taken some people down the history lane, back to the 17th century, when Maratha King Shivaji hugged Afzal Khan, the general loyal to Adil Shah. While Afzal had hidden his knife with which he wanted to stab Shivaji in the back, the Maratha King himself concealed tiger’s paw. It is on account of lack of trust in each other. Though both KCR and Naidu did not hide any weapons while hugging like Shivaji and Afzal did, they were hiding the contempt they have for each other under plastic smiles. Soon after the hugging ceremony, KCR showed his true colours by blasting Naidu for creating problems in the way of supply of electricity to the power-starved Telangana.
Friends became foes
There is no love lost between the two leaders who were colleagues in TDP 13 years ago. When Naidu became Chief Minister, KCR was his transport minister and then Deputy Speaker, which the latter saw as a demotion. It was then that KCR left the TDP in a huff and launched Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) with the sole agenda of achieving statehood for Telangana. Ever since, both the leaders were at loggerheads as Naidu has been a staunch integrationist. But after Congress leader YS Rajasekhara Reddy (YSR) won the 2004 elections with a bang in the company of KCR’s TRS, Naidu thought he can do the same trick in 2009 and entered into an electoral alliance with TRS. It is now history that Naidu lost for the second time in spite of his electoral alliance with the TRS. After YSR’s demise in a helicopter crash in 2009, KCR had the Telangana movement to a peak, went on indefinite fast and got the Union government concede the demand of separate statehood. The controversial midnight statement made by the then Home Minister Chidambaram on 9 December 2009 had prompted resignations on a massive scale by the legislators of the Congress and the TDP. After a lull of three and half years, the Congress Working Committee had decided to implement the decision taken earlier to create a separate state of Telangana and introduced AP Bifurcation Bill, 2014. It was passed by parliament.
The bifurcation of the state of Andhra Pradesh followed a long period of mutual recrimination and political tactics. Naidu bashing was the main point in the campaign carried out by the TRS. After the division became a reality, there was a hue and cry in the residual state of AP that injustice has been done to the region which was denied the benefits of the capital which was jointly developed. A lot of allegations were exchanged between the top guns, Naidu and KCR.
Governor ESL Narasimham made both the leaders meet in his presence at his residence, Raj Bhavan, and persuaded them to discuss some of the burning issues. Narasimaham was encouraged by PM Modi in his efforts to develop comradery between the two CMs. There were a couple of occasions when the twain met.
But on Sunday, KCR hugged and then slugged Naidu.
It all happened at ‘Alai Balai’ get together organized every year by Secunderabad MP Bandaru Dattatreya. Naidu’s and KCR’s bonhomie came to the fore in the presence of the veteran MP. Both the CMs did not share the dais. It was for the fourth time after the elections that the two leaders ran into each other. Every time they exchanged greetings. On Sunday at Jal Vihar on the bank of Hussain Sagar, KCR was about to leave after making a brief speech when Naidu came. They came to face to face and shook hands. At the behest of Dattratrey they hugged each other thrice in Hyderabadi style for the merriment of the cameramen.
KCR was there hardly for 10 minutes. He sat on the side of Governor ESL Narasimhan for a while and spoke for some time and left. He said Dattratreya’s contribution to the movement for separate Telangana state was through the programmes like Alai Balai which was meant to bring people together. KCR said Dattanna brought many leaders into Telangana movement. He left in a hurry as he was to chair the meeting of the extended executive committee of the TRS at the party headquarters. KCR left even before the Governor. It was then that Naidu entered the scene and came face to face with KCR. Dattatreya made them to hug and pat each other. The BJP leader appeared immensely happy to see both the rivals hug each other with smiling faces.
Waxing eloquent on unity
Then Naidu walked up and sat in the chair on the side of Governor Narasimhan in the chair that was just vacated by KCR. Like KCR earler, Naidu also waxed eloquent about the need for the people of both the state to maintain unity. “Embracing one another on the stage in not important. What is important is to have affectionate feelings. AP and Telangana are divided geographically but as a community Telugus are one”, said Naidu.“ As CM my priority is to develop AP”, he said.
Governor Narasimhan said the Telugus have to be united and help each other in the process of development. He expressed his happiness that both the leaders have hugged and exchanged pleasantries. But there lied a twist to the tail.
KCR mounted a scathing attack on his counterpart soon after reaching TRS Bhavan. Addressing his party members, KCR blamed Naidu for taking unilateral decisions. A case in point was Polavaram project and transferring of seven mandals to AP from Telangana. Thus Telangana lost 450 MW Lower Siler Hydel power plant. “Naidu is creating problems in the Krishnapatnam Ultra Mega power project purchase agreement”, he accused. He criticized Naidu for creating hurdle in power supply knowing very well that Telangana is starved of power.
KCR, however, assured his party leaders that he has planned to add 2500 MW of power generatin capacity next year and 2000 MW in the second year and 700 MW more in the third year after which Telangana state would become power surplus.
Ego problems harm students
Because of the ego problems between the two chief ministers and lack of coordination and cooperation between the two state governments, the student community had suffered heavily. The students who passed EMCEAT exam and were waiting for the second counseling had lost the academic year due to irresponsible attitude of the two governments. Instead of sitting across the table and sorting out the issues, the governments opted to go to court and did disservice to the students and parents. Because of the petty quarrels between the two governments many students who wanted to study BTech went to colleges in the neighboring states of Tamil Nadu and Karnataka. Students who waited for the wiser counsels to prevail had lost an opportunity to study BTech for this year.
After education, or more than education, power is a subject which demands cooperation between the two states. The power purchase agreements signed when the state was undivided, have to be revised in a just manner so as to avoid any loss to any state. That has not been happening. Even in this case the courts have been approached and the governments had to implement the orders of the courts shamelessly. It is like a quarrel among school kids. They are not aware or they don’t care about the heavy damage their rigid and stupid attitude is causing the people of both the states.
So, as Naidu said, it is not hugging that is important, but a responsible way of looking at the problems that are natural at the time of division of a state and solve them in an amicable manner without causing any loss or difficulties to the people.