(Photo courtesy : P Anil Kumar)
By T S Sudhir
Every time I called Gadar in the last ten years or so and asked him how he is doing, he would say : “Gaadi chal raha hai, dhakka maar ke, repair kar ke”. Gadar is the latest to climb on to the Telangana political gaadi and a helpful dhakka from the people of Telangana could very well propel him to a position of eminence in a Telangana state of tomorrow. Atleast he would hope so.
At 61, this song-and-dance artiste and Maoist sympathiser rolled into one, wants to ensure he doesn’t remain an unsung hero in the movement for statehood to Telangana. He has floated Telangana Praja Front, that claims it will be the people’s voice.
“When compared to other Telangana protagonists, Gadar does come with another face, the face of the marginalised sections,” says Prof K Nageshwar, political analyst. Indeed, this son of labourer parents is pushing his CV before the people of Telangana, this time emphasising his Dalit credentials. And Gadar knows that would result in more than a storm in KCR’s T-cup, given that the Telangana Rashtra Samiti is dominated by the upper castes.
Telangana may become a reality but if only the haves are to enjoy the goodies, what use is such a Telangana for the have-nots, asks Gadar.
Now that Gadar has made his `political’ arangetram in the Telangana theatre, the question agitating everyone’s mind is who is backing him. Or more crudely, who is funding him? Since his target so far has been KCR and his family, TRS leaders suspect he is being egged on by KCR baiters and funded by Maoist sympathisers and local businessmen.
So far, the TRS has refused to join issue with Gadar. Privately a senior leader said Gadar is out of step with the ground realities.
“People who are funding him want a vehicle to take their political career places. But with Gadar being ambivalent on contesting elections, why should they fuel his moves?”
The Telugu Desam gloated initially, as it has been at the receiving end of KCR’s acerbic barbs for long. But realising Gadar is a bit of a loose cannon, its Telangana leaders have been asked to take it easy, lest they or their party supremo come in the line of fire.
Also don’t forget, Chandrababu Naidu was CM when an assassination attempt was made on Gadar’s life in April 1997. Gadar has always alleged that the attack had the blessings of some key people in the state police and government.
Also, suspicion of some yellow shirts having funded this Red, isn’t the kind of covert political operation, the TDP wants to be accused of at this moment.
Political watchers say the Maoist angle would also deter many from aligning openly with Gadar. After all, as a leading light of the Jana Natya Mandali, the cultural arm of the naxals, Gadar was in many ways the public face of the banned movement and after a police raid on his house in 1985, was forced to go underground for close to five years.
“His strong Maoist affiliations are definitely a dampener for those individuals who are in parliamentary politics and would like to associate with him,” says Nageshwar.
In fact, Gadar’s Maoist ideology could come in handy for those who want to oppose Telangana, arguing he is there to facilitate naxal re-entry into Andhra Pradesh.
October 9 is when Gadar will unveil his agenda at a public forum. Analysts believe he has political ambitions, but is coy about them at the moment.
“Aag hai yeh aag hai, yeh bhooke pet ki aag hai’‘ has been one of Gadar’s all-time favourite songs. A political innings would mean Gadar would have to be on song 24×7.
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