The Telangana movement has coloured the traditional Bathukamma festival in the region. Facing off are K Kavita, daughter of Telangana Rashtra Samiti (TRS) founder K Chandrasekhar Rao, and his niece Regulapati Ramya, daughter of Rao’s late elder brother Ranga Rao.
Ramya, who walked out of the TRS earlier, has been made president of the youth wing of Civil Aviation Minister Ajit Singh’s TRLD. Ramya’s move was sudden and dramatic: “One fine morning, I received a phone call from RLD president Ajit Singh. He asked me whether I was willing to join th TRLD. I readily agreed,” she said.
The first family of Telangana has been riven by the political ambitions of sons, daughters and nieces all demanding their place in the sun. Ramya is not the first family member to revolt against the TRS chief Rao—the first was Umesh Rao who has since joined the Congress. He is the son of the TRS chief’s sister. Sources say bitter rivalry exists between Rao’s son K T Ramarao and nephew T Harish Rao—both Andhra MLAs legislators—for supremacy in the party.
Meanwhile, Kavitha has been busy playing Batukamma Pandaga with village women, in remote rural Andhra. Ramya has declared her intention to launch a parallel Batukamma Pandaga to make RLD popular among the women of the region. However, she cautioned that her Batukamma Pandaga should not be construed as an excuse to politically compete with Kavita. “I have my own way of participating in Telangana politics. I believe in serving the people with the utmost commitment, and rewards will come automatically” she says with the practiced ease of the politician she is yet to become.
Though Ramya denies any differences with KCR’s family, she confesses that she not comfortable with the TRS because there is an impression that the TRS is family party. As the battle for Telengana goes on in the power rooms of Delhi and Hyderabad, and KCR sits in seclusion in his farmhouse, the T-Girls are battling it out in the festive reaches of a state yet to be born.
- Sunday Standard