Edited Excerpts from an Interview
There’s a lot of underlying tension in Hyderabad and violence could erupt anytime. How does the TRS see the situation?
For now, the Samaikyandhra movement is largely apolitical. This is an expected reaction from the people. When the Congress announced the Telangana decision with Hyderabad as the capital, it should also have named an alternative capital for the Andhra region. This is leading some to believe that it’s a Congress, not the government’s, decision.
Also, the Samaikyandhra movement is planning another rally in Hyderabad.
Unfortunately, the CM is not respecting his own party’s decision and has been openly announcing his support for a united Andhra. This is anti-Telangana. It’s high time the Congress controlled their CM. Ultimately, what Kiran Kumar Reddy and other rich businessmen-cum-politicians from Seemandhra want is their writ over Hyderabad to continue. They know their dirty secrets will be dug up by whoever comes to power in Hyderabad. There are 7 lakh employees in Seemandhra. According to the Hyderabad police commissioner, only 50,000 turned up to work. We believe that these are the people who have taken up jobs that actually belonged to the Telangana people.
Is violence inevitable?
No. That’s why we called for a Hyderabad bandh. I cannot speak for other groups, but TRS cadres are under our control. They (Samaikyandhra agitators) want Hyderabad — therefore, the threats of violence. If the CM gives permission for another rally, we’ll have a Jai Andhra rally in Vijayawada. He should give us the same protection he gave them.
But the agitators fear you will be like the MNS and Shiv Sena, intolerant of outsiders.
Hyderabad is home for several communities that have come from outside. Even Nizamabad, my home district, has settlers who own lands and in many cases are more prosperous than the natives. Discrimination was always from their side. It is their media that uses derogatory terms for my father. Ours is an age-old demand. Their’s is politics.
Isn’t the onus on you to assure the settlers that they will be safe?
These are baseless fears promoted by Samaikyandhra leaders. There was never an effort from the Andhra side to console our losses during the tough times of our movement. Now when finally Telangana is close to reality, they are blaming us for everything. We have never reacted violently, even when KCR was abused.
Samaikyandhra agitators say that Hyderabad belongs to them as much as Telangana. They say that taxpayers’ money from the Andhra side has also gone into making Hyderabad.
Hasn’t Telangana taxpayers’ money gone into making Vishakapatnam (in Coastal Andhra)? If you have paid tax here, tomorrow pay your taxes elsewhere. Have your own capital. We will have a Telangana with Hyderabad as the capital.