Last bastion of Communists falls to TRS
‘It is my way or no way’. This had for long been the approach of Thummala Nageswar Rao, firebrand politician from Khammam. It is a strange predicament that he was left with no other way but to look forward to the Telangana Rashtra Samiti, a party, whose endeavors to make a strong presence in the district were seldom relished by him.
With the Telugu Desam Party doomed to remain a powerless second opposition for the next five years in Telangana, Thummala, who was away from power corridors for almost a decade, found himself desperately in need of fresh meadows to revive his dwindling political fortunes.
The TDP’s loss is certainly the gain of the Telangana Rashtra Samiti, a party that failed to find a firm footing in Khammam. The party was given a perfect take off in the district only few months ago with the first ever victory in the assembly polls given by the Jalagam Venkat Rao, son of former Chief Minister Jalagam Vengala Rao, by wresting Kothagudem assembly constituency from the CPI.
Thummala who is all set to join the TRS with his loyalists on Sept 5 is expected to strengthen further the support base of the party in the district. He is out to go lock stock and barrel in this effort. He has proved it sufficiently by roping in the likes of Kondabala Koteswar Rao, who served the party in the past as its district president, MLA and chairman of the district cooperative central bank.
The leaders who deserted TDP along with him had unflinching faith in the leadership of the party right from the days of N T Rama Rao. They were not reconciled initially with the option of Thummala. But it is by all means their political exigency that made them to follow him in saying good bye to the party they had been identified with so well, so long.
Bid to win over a community
The open arm welcome extended by the TRS to the Thummala owed to twin factors. In the backdrop of the new political equations that emerged after the TRS coming to power in Telangana, the resourceful kamma community began to entertain the feeling of being alienated, thanks to the deliberate omissions and commissions of the new government in the new state.
By inducting Thummala into the party as well as into the state cabinet, as it is expected, the TRS leadership would be able to win back their support by assuaging its ruffled feeling. It would help bolster the party image in the strongholds of the social grouping including Khammam.
With Thummala , once considered right hand man of Chandra Babu Naidu on his side, KCR will have his job made easy so far as the head hunting operation is considered, which is said to be much in the offing. As a senior Congress MLA has put it, KCR would eat into the vitals of both the TDP and Congress to marginalize their voice in the legislative assembly.
Already one of the Congress MLAs from the district Koram Kanakaiah quit the Congress. It is time for the TDP MLA, Sandra Venkata Veeraiah to take a decision as his victory in Sathupalli assembly constituency owed very much to Thummala. The assembly seat was vacated by him once it was reserved for the SCs in the delimitation exercise.
The only TRS MLA from the district, Jalagam Venkat Rao, who had pinned high hopes on the cabinet expansion will hardly find any justification in the moves to bring in Thummala, who was being looked upon as a hardcore integrationist and his group into the party. By all means, the Jalagam family enjoyed most loyal and devoted following also in the Kamma community in the district.
The Jalagams, whether it was Vengal Rao (as the chief Minister) or Venkat Rao’s brother Prasada Rao (as a minister) banked more on the support of the Kamma community rather than their own Velama caste grouping that had less than 700 families in the entire district. Venkat Rao defeated Thummala in Sathupalli assembly in 2004 and subsequently as a congress rebel candidate lost to him in Khammam assembly constituency in 2009.
The TRS chief would expected both the old rivals to bury their differences and work together for the party in the district. Venkat rao may oblige in the larger interests of the party , but the same cannot be expected of a sizeable segment of his followers that included families from Thummala’s own community. They were disillusioned with Thummala once and for all because of his one upmanship politics in the district politics.
This is the sole factor what really forced the TDP chief N Chandrababu Naidu to promote Nama Nageswara Rao in the district politics as an alternative for Thummala. His has systematically distanced himself from Thummala over the years and got him relegated to back seat in the party matters in the district.
This is being seen as a good riddance by the Nama group, which has now been left with the task of rebuilding the party from the scratch. but Nama is yet to go a long way to fill the void created by the exit of Thummala, who remained always grassroots leader. TRS has finally conquered the last bastion of communists by opening up for a new world and new people.