Prof Kodandaram, who was a crusader of a separate Telangana agitation, has catapulted into the center-stage of the agitation with the demise of ideologue Prof K Jayashankar. Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) supremo K Chandrashekar Rao has brought all parties favouring the creation of a separate Telangana onto a single platform and formed a political joint action committee (JAC) and had political science professor of Osmania University M Kodandaram elected as its chairman.
The soft-spoken Prof Kodandaram was able to connect well with the common man in Telangana instantly with his articulation in presenting the cause of a separate Telangana. His clout among the people and also the activists of separate Telangana grew by leaps and bounds during that period.
Buoyed by the groundswell of sympathy among people for the agitation, Prof Kodandaram organized two mega events marking the agitation: Sagara Haram and Million March. While Million March has turned a little violent too, Saagara Haram turned out to be a hit when he announced instant hunger strike after the public meeting was over, throwing the Government of the day into the tizzy.
Both shows became super hits, but not without the support of the TRS and other political parties. The TRS cadres had worked for the success of the events with the tacit endorsement from the party leadership.
This is exactly when Prof Kodandaram began thinking that it was his political mastery that had delivered the successes and propelled the pace and decibel level of the demand for a separate Telangana. The moment the professor was caught in the delusion that he’s too big for his shoes, the actual politics began to unveil an unexpected picture for him. For, he could not assess the polity, which is more of an art rather than science.
He would have been an uncrowned king
Had he blindly supported the TRS, cutting corners and mending fences, as achieving separate Telangana was the topmost postulate of the agitation, he would have been treated like a demi god by KCR in the scheme of things that enthroned the TRS in the State in the Assembly elections in 2014. Ironically, Prof Kodandaram, for strange reasons, miscalculated the strengths of KCR and the popularity he was commanding. After all, KCR fought titans like N Chandrababu Naidu, YS Rajasekhara Reddy, and then “mighty” Sonia Gandhi, and had his way on some occasions and both say and way, finally.
Prof Kodandaram’s overtures with the Congress and other political parties didn’t miss the eye of KCR, who was upset at first and then began viewing him with an eye of suspicion. His proximity to the Congress naturally hurt the sentiments of KCR who revered the professor and wanted to anoint him as the Jayashankar-II in his party.
Prof Kodandaram’s political thought stemmed from extreme left organisations. However, he could have easily blended himself into the TRS ideology as the common cause was the achieving the State and working for realizing the dreams of people.
Prof Kodandaram, instead of being the “elderly man” to look up to, has chosen to work against the TRS and the first Telangana Government. He would have indeed wielded enormous power and influence in the government, including the strength to rein in the Chief Minister and others if necessary.
Now his stock crashed to such a low level that he is unable to command his own face value. The manifesto committee chairmanship and also the leadership of the Praja Kutami are just ornamental to him. For, the Congress meted out the shabbiest possible humiliation on him. The TJS nursed to contest 39 seats first, then brought it down to 21, then to 18, to 14, to 12 to 8 to now 3. For, the contest has fielded its candidates in five of the eight seats given in adjustment.
It doesn’t require great skills of prophecy to predict where the professor would be after the elections.