Telangana leaders turn chefs

What’s cooking: Telangana Rashtriya Samiti leader and parliamentarian Vijayashanthi tries her hand at cooking during ‘Hyderabad Cooks on Roads’ agitation in support of a separate Telangana state, in Hyderabad on Sunday. PTI

The Telangana campaigners have devised a new strategy for democratic protest that goes beyond dharna and hunger strike.

On Sunday, thousands of campaigners spread across the streets of Hyderabad and lit stoves to prepare food - the overarching message being to let the Centre feel the ‘heat’ of their movement for a separate state of Telangana.

The cook-and-eat protest was led by Telangana Rasthra Samithi (TRS) president, K C Chandrasekhar Rao, and was joined by government employees, doctors, lawyers, IT professionals and students. The protesters displayed their culinary skills during their unique protest.

Rao himself cooked potato curry at the open kitchen near the Cancer Hospital in Banjara Hills. His daughter, Kavita , who heads the cultural wing of TRS made raita —a mixture of onions and curd .

The activists strategically set up roadside kitchen at 14 locations across the state capital— which is the gateway to Hyderabad from coastal Andhra, Telangana and  Rayalaseema region.

TRS legislator Harish Rao  and actor-MP Vijayshanti prepared upma near Hi-tech city. Former Union minister and state BJP president Bandaru Dattatreya made mixed vegetable curry. The Telangana JAC leader Prof Kodandaram and his family prepared dal and omelette at the open kitchen near the historical clock tower in Secunderabad. The rebel TDP legislator Nagam Janardhan Reddy and lone Congress city MLA P Vishnuvardhan Reddy were the only surprise participants.

The agitators had chosen the thorough fares of the state capital to  showcase the traditional culinary roots of Telangana as a part of “Vanta and Varpu” call  to nullify the campaign of  coastal Andhra leaders that  Hyderabad did not have any residue of Telangana culture. Thousands of stoves occupied the streets in Hyderabad at several major junctions to prepare lunch for one lakh Telangana agitators. However, the state DGP K Aravinda Rao said there was no police permission for the campaign.

Sunday’s agenda of the Telangana Rashtra Samiti , Telangana –JAC ,Telangana NGOs and the BJP was similar to that on April 10, when they staged a “million march” near Tank Bund which led to the demolition of  statues of several state leaders.

Speaking to reporters KCR demanded the resignation of all the Congress MPs and said, “They should stop making trips to New Delhi, Delhi will come running for them if they resign.”  In the back drop of inordinate delay by the Centre in declaring Telangana a separate state, the agitators had revived the campaign last week after the commencement of the academic year. The state administration has deployed force in the state capital to restrain violence.

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