Hyderabad is gearing up for high-stakes political spectacles on Sunday, 17 September that may well throw life out of gear for common citizens. The three major political parties — the Congress, BRS, and the BJP — have lined up programmes up to and in the days following Sunday.
For these political parties, 17 September presents an opportunity to further their interests, each in its own way.
The BJP dubs it Telangana Liberation Day, or the day a part of India was wrested from Muslim rule. The BRS characterises it as Telangana National Integration Day, the day the erstwhile princely state of the Nizam was merged into the Indian Union. In contrast, the Congress takes a Goldilocks approach, referring to it simply as Independence Day.
The day marks the end of Nizam’s rule in Hyderabad state, following “police action” by the Indian Union in 1948, one year after India attained independence in 1947.
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The grand old party has scheduled a meeting of the Congress Working Committee (CWC) — its highest decision-making body — on 16 September, and an extended meeting the next day. This will be followed by a “massive public gathering” on the outskirts of Hyderabad at Tukkuguda.
The party has planned programmes in all 119 Assembly constituencies the following day, 18 September.
Former MP and Congress’ Campaign Committee chairman, Madhu Yashki Goud, told South First that preparations were on to mobilise not less than five lakh people for the event, despite police restrictions capping the crowd size at 10,000.
“We won’t be deterred by the intimidating tactics of the BRS government. The police are acting as if they are the employees of the BRS,” he said.
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Police impose conditions
The Rachakonda police have imposed 26 conditions for organising the public meeting.
These include the installation of CCTV surveillance cameras at all entry and exit points, providing an ambulance for emergency use, refraining from using flying cameras, drones, or hot air balloons that pose hazards to public safety, and prohibiting the bursting of crackers or DJ music to avoid traffic problems.
Additionally, theorganisers have been asked to provide mobile toilets for attendees, maintain low noise levels below 55 dB with incremental increase by up to 10 dB, and employ private security personnel for crowd-frisking.
Madhu Yashki remarked, “I’ve never seen the police impose so many conditions. They appear to be acting at the behest of Chief Minister K Chandrashekar Rao. This event will be addressed by top party leaders, including Sonia Gandhi, Rahul, Priyanka, and Mallikarjun Kharge, and yet, the police are imposing so many restrictions.
“In fact, all political parties in Telangana should show respect to Sonia Gandhi for granting a separate Telangana state. I recall KCR stating in the Assembly that without Sonia’s decision, Telangana would not have become a reality.”
5 guarantees to be announced
Meanwhile, party leaders are working on drafting the five guarantees for the people, which will be unveiled by Sonia Gandhi during the public meeting. Other leaders are focused on developing the party’s manifesto for Telangana, given the approaching Assembly elections.
According to sources, among the five guarantees being considered are the waiver of farm loans up to ₹2 lakh, reducing the price of domestic LPG cylinders to ₹500, providing ₹4,000 pension to senior citizens, filling two lakh state government vacancies within a year of assuming power, and increasing the amount payable to farmers under the Rythu Bandhu scheme.
Sources suggest that the CWC will formulate strategies to win the upcoming Assembly elections in five states, including Telangana, scheduled for November-December. These strategies will be discussed further with its INDIA bloc partners.
Rival events by BRS, BJP
The BRS is also diligently preparing for a massive public gathering at Narlapur in the erstwhile Mahabubnagar district after Chief Minister KCR inaugurates the Palamuru Rangareddy Lift Irrigation scheme (PRLIS) on 16 September.
The party is not only launching an aggressive publicity campaign for the scheme, but is also mobilising people to portray KCR as the savior of drought-prone Rangareddy and Mahabubnagar districts.
The Environment Ministry recently granted clearance for the first phase of the project, providing a significant boost to KCR. The party aims to leverage the PRLIS for electoral benefits and has been actively promoting it on social media, showcasing how it will benefit the farmers.
The BRS will observe the next day, 17 September, as Telangana National Integration Day, eschewing the term “liberation day” to avoid offending Muslim sentiments, which KCR cannot afford.
Given that this is a government programme, officials have hired workers to prepare the Public Gardens for the event.
Meanwhile, the BJP is also gearing up for the 17 September 17.
BJP strongman and Union Home Minister Amit Shah will arrive on 16 September itself to set the tone for Telangana Liberation Day celebrations.
The Parade Grounds will serve as the venue for the event. On the day of his arrival, Amit Shah will meet with BJP party workers to discuss readiness for the Assembly elections and provide guidance for their campaign strategies.