Make Telangana stand clear, say angry activists to Jagan

Nizamabad district, Andhra Pradesh:  When Jagan Mohan Reddy arrived in Telangana in a hundred-car convoy, his political opponents expressed their surprise over the lack of protests. Mr Reddy moved relatively smoothly to Nizamabad, where he is holding a two-day fast to draw attention to farmers in the region, who are crippled by drought and debt.

Today, the calm was shattered twice by pro-Telangana activists who stormed into the protest venue, despite the heavy police cover. First, 100 activists of a group that calls itself the New Democracy stormed into the venue. Later, a group of women barged their way upto the podium, demanding that Mr Reddy must articulate whether he supports the creation of a new Telangana state.
The police lathi-charged the protestors and took them away. More security has been added. Mr Reddy's supporters say the protests were instigated by his political opponents.  
In December 2009, Mr Reddy had expressed his support in Parliament for a united Andhra Pradesh. In May 2010, when he tried to venture into Telangana as part of his odarpu yatra, there were violent protests and he was escorted back to Hyderabad by the police. Last year, after launching his own party, Mr Reddy carefully walked a middle path between the camps that support and oppose, with equal ferocity, the bifurcation of Andhra Pradesh.
The demand for a separate Telangana state has polarized opinion so dramatically that the union government has refused to take a stand on the issue. Consultations with different stake-holders are held regularly, as the government buys time. But even the Congress' own leaders from the region are leaning on the Centre to make a decision quickly - they say they're finding it tough to face voters, who often hurl shoes and abuse at them at public appearances for failing to deliver a new state.

Jagan's rythu deeksha or protest fast for the cause of farmers is seen as a precursor for his plans to restart his odarpu yatra in Telangana, a tour that presented him as the rightful heir to the political legacy of his immensely popular father, YSR Reddy. In September 2009, Mr Reddy, who was a Congress leader and the Chief Minister, died in a helicopter crash. His party did not pick his son as his replacement, leading to an estrangement followed by a nasty divorce between Mr Reddy and the Congress.


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