Telangana bastion warms to Sharmila:Parkal bypoll

With a fiery campaign in Parkal on Friday, Sharmila succeeded where her brother Jaganmohan Reddy had failed. But a tacit understanding with K Chandrasekhar Rao’s TRS may have helped the YSR Congress Party’s new mascot to storm the Telangana bastion, with her mother Vijayamma in tow. What more, the mother-daughter duo also managed to draw huge crowds during their road show in Geesukonda mandal headquarters in the afternoon and later at the public meeting here in the night.

Observers, however, say that Vijayamma had a smooth passage in Telangana hotbed mainly because the TRS and Telangana political Joint Action Committee (JAC) had decided not to oppose her campaign. Some student groups from Kakatiya University in Warangal and Osmania University in Hyderabad had threatened to derail her ‘prachara ratham’ for her son’s anti-Telangana stand. But they did not carry out their threats. In fact, this was the first time that a senior YSR Congress leader had entered north Telangana after Jagan had to call off his Odarpu yatra following an unprecedented violence in Mahbubabad.

Initially, the TRS and other Telangana supporters said they would obstruct her tour but decided against doing so. JAC chairman M Kodandaram said they would not disrupt the YSR Congress leader’s tour programme if she spelt out her party stand on the separate statehood issue. “We will go by the larger sentiment of the Telangana people. My late husband YSR wanted to develop Telangana on a par with Seemandhra. He had special affection for the people of the region,” Vijayamma said, straining every nerve to buy peace with T-protagonists at the public meeting here.

Chief minister Kiran Kumar Reddy, TDP chief Chandrababu Naidu and Jagan had faced violent protests from Telangana supporters during their rallies. Jagan, in fact, had to abort his plan to undertake Odarpu yatra in Warangal district following violent clashes between his supporters and pro-Telangana activists at Mahbubabad railway station. In fact, the images of YSR CP candidate Konda Surekha hurling back some of the stones at T-supporters were being played out by TRS candidate Bhikshapati who is locked in a keen contest with her.

Earlier, Sharmila pumped in more adrenaline into the YSR CP campaign by continuing with her tirade against Congress and TDP leaders. Likening her brother Jagan to a caged lion, she said he still is a lion. Playing on the conspiracy angle to the death of her father, she questioned Kiran Kumar as to why he had dropped out at the last minute from accompanying YSR to the Rachabanda programme. “Was it just destiny or did he know what was going to happen,” she asked. Vijayamma too joined the issue, demanding a fresh probe into the conspiracy theory.

Taking on the TDP chief, Sharmila mocked at Naidu for saying that all those who actually vote for Jagan would also be put in jail. She asked the crowds whether they approve of his threat. When nays rang out loudly, she waved and smiled at them. She said the entire nation was watching the polls. “God is with good people and my brother will come out clean and be the CM,” she thundered.