The Telangana Assembly election campaign is currently dominated by discussions on the formation of the state and a blame game regarding lives lost during the statehood agitation. This comes to the forefront a day after senior Congress leader and former Union Minister P. Chidambaram offered an apology for the lives lost during the Telangana agitation, triggering a sharp response from the Bharat Rashtra Samithi (BRS).
In response to Chidambaram’s remarks, the BRS escalated its attack on the Congress party, putting up posters in Hyderabad featuring Rahul Gandhi alongside images of youths who died during the Telangana movement. The posters carried messages such as “Welcome to Congress leaders who took away the lives of Telangana’s sons” and “Welcome to political tourist Rahul Gandhi.”
The war of words intensified on Thursday when Chidambaram, during a news conference in Hyderabad, defended Congress against allegations that it was responsible for the deaths due to the delayed formation of Telangana state. Chidambaram acknowledged the challenges faced by Congress in bifurcating Andhra Pradesh due to disagreements between Telangana and Seemandhra. He expressed regret for any loss of life during the people’s movement but maintained that the central government couldn’t be solely held responsible.
In response, BRS leaders launched a fresh attack, alleging that Congress was responsible for the forceful merger of Telangana with Andhra state in 1956 and for suppressing the Telangana movement in the 1970s. Chief Minister K. Chandrasekhar Rao (KCR) criticized Congress for merging Telangana with Andhra in 1956 and accused them of killing 400 people during the 969 movement.
TRS (formerly BRS) leaders highlighted the party’s formation for the cause of Telangana and criticized Congress for not fulfilling promises made in 2004 and 2009. The blame game extended to demands for apologies, with BRS MLC K. Kavitha questioning why the Gandhis were not apologizing for the loss of lives.
The exchange of accusations underscores the complex historical context and unresolved grievances surrounding Telangana’s statehood. Both parties are actively shaping the narrative to influence voter sentiment in the upcoming elections.