Why KCR Could Not Speak At OU Centenary?
Hyderabad: It was an auspicious occasion. Osmania University’s Centenary celebrations were being inaugurated by President Pranab Mukherjee on Wednesday. Governor ESL Narasimhan and Chief Minister K Chandrashekhar Rao (KCR) were there on the dais. They were scheduled to speak. But they chose to keep quiet. Why?
The invitation card has the programme details printed on the inside leaf. According to the programme, both Governor and the CM were listed as speakers. KCR is not only the CM and an accomplished speaker, he is also an alumnus of the university which played a pivotal role in the Statehood movement. The function which should have been a grand affair ended as a damp squib. VC welcomed. Pranab delivered his speech. Registrar proposed Vote of thanks. It was all over. The solemn occasion should have got embedded in the hearts and psyche of Osmania lovers. But it could not happen.
The fact of the matter is that KCR has made a lot of political gains from the Statehood movement and a separate State being formed. But he could not win over Osmania students. Opposition leaders and leaders of caste groups, occupations, trades and employees had fallen in line and accepted his command. KCR had rewarded a couple of student leaders like Balka Suman. But the larger student community remained hostile to KCR. The students chose to fight rather than surrender. They have been defying. They have their demands. But the government did not make a concerted attempt to talk to the students and resolve the issues. Instead, it preferred to use the police force to suppress them. They were not allowed to demonstrate. Their protest programmes were preempted. KCR should have known that it is not possible to subdue Osmania students by force. Had it been possible to suppress the Osmania students by force, there would have been no Telangana State and no chief ministership for KCR.
The students have been demanding that the government should come up with an employment policy. They wanted the government to fulfil the promise of creating one lakh jobs. They went to court to stop the government from regularising the services of contract employees. The High Court has granted a stay on the government move the students expected the government to fill the vacancies in the faculty. The government was asked to allocate a�?1000 crore to OU on the occasion of the centenary. The government has sanctioned a�?200 crore and released a�?50 crore, said one SFI leader. ABVP leaders said KCR has no guts to speak on Osmania campus since he did not bother to develop the institution. Student bodies owing allegiance to different political parties created trouble for the CM on Wednesday. There were preventive detentions to stop the trouble makers from gaining access to the centenary venue. But there were slogans against KCR throughout the function. The intelligence sleuths advised the CM not to speak. Governor Narasimhan also followed the suit. The whole programme ended in a lacklustre fashion without messages from Governor and CM. Even the President’s address was brief and listless. What should have been a memorable occasion has ended up as inconsequential, tame affair.
Who is to be blamed for the fiasco? Students should have observed restraint keeping in view the importance of the centenary occasion which comes only once in their lifetime. It is the responsibility of the people in power to be inclusive and take everyone along. KCR himself did not find time to visit OU campus even once in the nearly three years he has been Chief Minister. His education minister Kadiam Srihari is a turncoat who defected from the TDP to become deputy CM. Students have no respect for him. The Principal Secretary of education Ranjiva Acharya is known for her arrogance and closed mindset. Harish Rao and KTR, young ministers who could have dealt with the student community, were busy with their ministerial assignments. K Kesava Rao, who is considered an intellectual among politicians, tried to talk to the student leaders but hastily withdrew from the engagement.
KCR might have tamed TDP supremo Chandrababu Naidu and he may have mobilised lakhs of people for the public meeting at Warangal on the eve of the 16th anniversary of the TRS, but OU students will remain a challenge for him to meet one day or other.