Telangana sentiment trumps all in Warangal

Telangana sentiment trumps all in Warangal

TRS president and caretaker chief minister K Chandrashekar Rao. PTI Photo 

Warangal, the capital city of the erstwhile Kakatiya dynasty and the adjoining Karimnagar had erupted in favour of a separate Telangana state every time the highly emotive issue was on the centre stage.

And, it was these two districts, along with Nizamabad and Adilabad, that gifted the highest number of seats to the TRS, catapulting the regional party to power in India’s youngest state in 2014.

K Chandrashekar Rao, the TRS chief and first chief minister of Telangana, has been the darling of masses in the Telangana region through the last phase of the movement that began in 2009 and ended in 2014 with the creation of the state.

He and his party, TRS, is still hugely popular in Warangal and Karimnagar districts though people have many complaints against local MLAs and MPs.

On the streets of Karimnagar and Warangal, the urban pockets of north Telangana region, one can witness the popularity of KCR, especially with the older generation.

Though many youngsters scoff at him for not generating enough jobs in the government sector, they acknowledge his contributions in achieving a separate state and might vote for him just for the “Telangana sentiment”.

“I will vote only for TRS. I don’t care whether KCR-garu has performed or not. Congress ruled the state for so many years and were they able to satisfy all sections? It is KCR garu who fought for a separate Telangana state and it is only fitting that he be given one more chance,” Tirupathi, who sells clothes on a platform in Karimnagar market, told DH.

KCR’s welfare schemes, such as Rythu Bandhu, under which farmers get Rs 4,000 per season for buying seeds and fertilisers, Kalyana Lakshmi, which provides financial assistance for marriages of girls, and the KCR kit, for the well being of pregnant and lactating women, have helped keep his popularity intact in the region.

Support for KCR seems to be on a high-pitch in rural areas with the downtrodden being explicit in their loyalty towards him.

Ramaiah, a marginal farmer who was busy herding sheep some 20 km away from Huzurabad, flaunted KCR’s “gift” to him and said he would certainly vote for the chief minister. “He gave me 20 sheep and I get more income now. I want the TRS government to continue,” he said.

People are upset with the TRS for not fulfilling its promises — two-bedroom houses to the needy, 3-acre land to people from Scheduled Castes and generating 1 lakh jobs in government sector — but in these two districts, such concerns take the backseat and Telangana statehood sentiments come to the fore. The Congress-TDP alliance is also being seen as “opportunist” and KCR’s statement, leaders from Andhra will become dominant again if the People’s Alliance romps home, has trickled down to the people.

“A Telangana party should win in Telangana and TRS is the Telangana party. Obviously, KCR has to be the leader and should rule the state. Why should we vote for TDP which is a party from Andhra?” Raju, an autorickshaw driver, said.

Zunaid, a small-time business in Warangal district, said: “He (KCR) was here on Monday. I went to the rally and saw him speak. He has always been very good to the people of Warangal and we are confident he will continue to be so.”