Can Gaddar, a poet and Telugu balladeer, and Kodandaram, a professor, dent the chances of Telangana Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao (KCR) in the December 7 Assembly election?
Gaddar and Kodandaram — the two firebrand alumni of Osmania University — had fought alongside KCR during the Telangana separation movement, but have since turned into bitter opponents of the CM and Telangana Rastra Samithi (TRS) leader.
Whether Gaddar will take on KCR in Gajwel, his home turf, as an Independent backed by the Mahakutami, or grand alliance, remains a question. Similarly, whether Kodandaram will lead the Mahakutami this time remains to be seen.
The credible professor
Muddasani Kodandaram, the 63-year-old political science teacher, activist and Chairman of the Telangana Joint Action Committee (TJAC) of opposition parties, is a mighty opponent for KCR.
After being sidelined by KCR post-2014, the professor plunged headlong into politics with the launch of the Telangana Jana Samithi (TJS) this year. He is expected to be a key part of the grand alliance of the Congress, the TDP and the CPI.
Given the credibility he enjoys, Kodandaram can play a big role in highlighting the faults and failures of the KCR government in delivering its poll promises — from granting 3 acres of land to each Dalit family to the creation of a Bangaru (golden) Telangana.
However, he has now donned a political avatar and runs a party, which makes him vulnerable to attack.
Critics argue that the persuasive professor has trained his guns on KCR because he was not suitably rewarded after the State formation. His influence is seen to be thinly spread across the 10 districts of the State, especially confined to the student community, activists and intellectuals.
In ample measure, Kodandaram demonstrated his energy and ability to gain public confidence during the agitation by the displaced people in the Mallannasagar irrigation project.
He is now exercising his political cards quite shrewdly by building bridges within the Mahakutami.
Speculation is rife that he will play not just a catalyst role, but also extract a favourable outcome for himself and the TJS. With 50 days left to replicate the high-impact mobilisation achieved during the Telangana struggle, he has to convince the electorate that the KCR government, which he describes as ‘autocratic and inept’, should go.
In contrast, balladeer Gummadi Vittal Rao, popularly known as Gaddar, whose passionate and fiery revolutionary songs have attracted a large number of youngsters to the Maoist ideology, traversed the route of spirituality to active politics.
The 69-year-old Gaddar intends to make a political statement in this election as well as create a space for his son Surya Kiran, who has joined the Congress.
His recent meeting with Congress President Rahul Gandhi and Sonia Gandhi in New Delhi — along with former Nizamabad MP Madhu Yashki Goud — raised eyebrows. However, Gaddar brushed off the meeting as a general discussion on polity.
Gaddar strongly feels that a new feudalism has emerged in Telangana instead of the aspired one where SCs and STs have political representation on par with the Other Castes and the Backward Castes. He has alleged that KCR has failed to fulfil promises.
Whether or not they win electorally, Gaddar and Kodandaram are certain to charge up the campaigning and give sleepless nights to KCR.