K. Narayana, the state secretary of Communist Party of India (CPI) is a rare politician. His recent actions on the Telangana statehood issue speak volumes about his leadership and integrity.
We should remember that it was CPI which spearheaded the Telangana peasant armed struggle against the Nizam. Almost 4,000 peasants were killed in that historic armed struggle.
It was also CPI which then led the ‘Visalandhra’ movement. During the 1969 ‘Jai Telangana’ agitation, CPI leadership supported a unified Andhra Pradesh and infact its cadre fought pitched street fights with Telangana supporters.
Over the years, CPI lost most of its base in the Andhra and Rayalaseema regions but remained strong in Telangana region. Nalgonda and Khammam remained strongholds of CPI.
When Telangana Rashtra Samithi was launched in 2001, CPI was one of the worst affected parties. Scores of its partymen joined the TRS.
Understanding the genuine grievances of Telangana people, CPI then softened its stand and started demanding a special package to the region. But its demand and subsequent agitation for a special package was ignored by successive governments.
It was then the state unit of CPI under the leadership of K. Narayana convinced its central unit to support the Telangana cause. Suravaram Sudhakar Reddy, who headed the state unit before Narayana also supported the state party’s stand.
It was obviously a very tough decision to make. For a party which once fought for Visalandhra, and whose official news paper is still named Visalandhra, it was a very audacious decision to support the division of the state. Even though there was strong objection from coastal and Rayalaseema district units, CPI went ahead and pledged its support to the Telangana statehood about 3 years back.
From then on CPI and its state unit have continued to support the Telangana statehood movement.
When major political party leaders changed their stand on 10th December, 2009, CPI state unit struck to its word.
Even after SKC report was out, Narayana demanded that the UPA govt. pass the Telangana bill without further delay. His commitment to Telangana cause was once again proved when he visited the Osmania University last week to understand the ground-level situation there.
A couple of days back, he wrote a direct letter to UPA chairperson, where he demanded that she come out clear on the Telangana issue.
Now, CPI has won the hearts of the people of Telangana by deciding to participate in the agitation directly. The party has announced a series of agitations in the coming weeks. Narayana was unperturbed, when this decision led to dissent within the party. A senior leader from Rayalaseema – Laxminarayana resigned from the party protesting the party’s decision to take part in the ongoing Telangana agitation.
And the most intersting part of this story is that Narayana doesn’t hail from Telangana!
If only we had more leaders like him…