Hyderabad: Telangana Legislative Council former Chairman Swamy Gowd expressed his dissent against Chief Minister K. Chandrasekhar Rao in his own way after Health Minister Eetela Rajendra by raising the bogey of empowering the backward classes.
Rajendra caused flutter in the ruling party circles immediately after KCR or Chandrasekhar Rao returned to power with a thumping majority in 2018 state elections by saying he is one of the “real” owners of the Telangana movement who toiled to achieve a separate statehood for Telangana . As he asserted, Eetela was one of the veterans of the separate statehood movement who went hand in hand with Chandrasekhar Rao till the state was realised in 2014.
Swamy Gowd opted for a different idiom to express his displeasure against his party patriarch—praising KCR’s bitter rival A. Revanth Reddy of the Congress party. Gowd, member of the TRS party’s highest body of politburo, described Revanth from the upper-caste Reddy community, as a committed supporter of Backward Classes like a hand stick for the weaklings. He made this observation at a function held in connection with unveiling of a statue of Sardar Sarvai Papanna Gowd in the state capital recently. Papanna, a 17th century king of Quilashapur, became an icon of Telangana’s backward Classes by revolting against Mogul emperors for imposing tax on toddy, a source of living for the Gowda community. KCR’s rivalry with Revanth Reddy is so much so that the Congress MP was jailed on two occasions—in a vote-for-cash scam and in a case relating to use of drones to photograph the farmhouse owned by KCR’s son K.T. Rama Rao in Ranga Reddy district.
Earlier, Swamy Gowd launched a veiled attack against KCR regime, saying the BCs who constitute more than 50 percent of the state’s population have been denied their due in power sharing as power continued to remain in the hands of a few upper-caste people in the last six-years of TRS rule since Telangana was carved out.
Both, Eetala of Mudiraj community and Swamy Gowd from Gowda community, are prominent BC leaders in Telangana. Swamy Gowd, who began his career in the state government as a peon, gave up his government job and took a plunge in the statehood movement by leading the Telangana Employees JAC. Later, he went to the state council from a graduates’ constituency to become the first chairman of the legislative council of the new state of Telangana. His term expired a year ago and uncertainty prevails over his re-nomination.
Rajendra’s dissent ended like a storm in a tea cup after his retention in the state cabinet with his health portfolio unchanged in a reshuffling of ministers. Swamy Gowda’s utterances obviously do not carry much weight after he demitted his office. But the TRS leadership is worried over the impact of his dissent voices on BCs in the face of by-election in Dubbaka Assembly segment.
BJP’s BC card
Chandrasekhar’s party is forced to make friends with the BCs given the rude shot it received in the Parliament elections in 2019 and the BC card being played out by the BJP. The TRS got alienated from the backward classes, which was evident with the defeat of KCR’s daughter K. Kavitha at the hands of a BC leader D. Aravind. Kavitha had to pay a heavy price for humiliation allegedly meted out to her party’s Rajya Sabha member D. Srinivas, a BC leader from Munnuru Kapu community by the TRS leadership.
Another greenhorn from the BCs, Bandi Sanjay defeated B. Vinod, the sitting MP of the TRS and close aid of KCR. Aiming for a much bigger goal in the 2023 state elections, the BJP top brass made Sanjay president of the party state unit to capitalise on the shifting of BCs away from the TRS. Vakulabharanam Krishnamohan, former member of the Telangana state BC Commission, dismissed the talk of BCs receiving a raw deal during the KCR government. He recalled that it is because of KCR’s largesse, two BC leaders—Madhusudanachary and Swamy Gowd—were made the first speaker of the Telangana state Assembly and the first Chairman of the Legislative Council respectively.
Gujju Krishna, vice-president of the Backward Classes Association, said the six-year rule of the KCR government left the BCs disheartened. KCR failed to translate his word into a deed regarding welfare of BCs which included fee reimbursement for students, loans with 80 percent subsidy from the BC Corporation and strengthening of MBC (Most Backward Classes) Corporation with sufficient funds, he said.