Telangana Vidhan Sabha polls: Osmania University's student politicians in fray, but Congress has ignored this crucial group

Telangana Vidhan Sabha polls: Osmania University's student politicians in fray, but Congress has ignored this crucial group

Telangana Vidhan Sabha polls: Osmania University's student politicians in fray, but Congress has ignored this crucial group

Osmania University in Hyderabad has nurtured many a political stalwarts in its hundred-year history, and the tradition will transition into this assembly elections as well, with several former and current student leaders in fray. Many of them going up against bigwigs like Akbaruddin Owaisi of the All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (AIMIM), Bharatiya Janata Party floor leader and former state president Kishan Reddy and state health minister C Laxma Reddy.

The move could be an effort by young leaders to kickstart their political careers in a manner similar to previous Osmania alumni like Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao, PV Narasimha Rao, C Vidyasagar Rao, N Kiran Kumar Reddy, Jaipal Reddy, Keshav Rao, V Hanumantha Rao, and Muralidhar Rao.

Major political parties in the region tried their best to mobilise the student community and recruit their leaders who played a key role in the Telangana statehood movement. However, only a few were successful in bringing them to mainstream politics — either by giving an Assembly ticket or by promising a key post in the parties. While some of the student leaders are contesting as independent candidates, several others have aligned with smaller parties after being denied tickets by major political parties. The development is reflective of how student movements are still integral to state politics in Telangana.

Firstpost met some of these student leaders to assess their vision and analyse their poll strategy against senior politicians. Here’s what they had to say:

Syed Shahzadi

A former national executive member of ABVP and an alumna of Osmania University who joined BJP recently, she is pitted against Akbaruddin Owaisi for the Chandrayan Gutta Assembly Constituency. Owaisi is has claimed the constituency four consecutive terms since 1999.

“People living in this area are flooded with problems which were neglected by the legislators who have been in power since decades. The leaders who claim to be the representatives of the minority community have not done anything for the community or the constituency,” Shahzadi said.

Shahzadi also blamed the legislator for neglecting the youth and for not carrying out developmental works in the old city. Stressing upon the need for women empowerment, education and skill development, the novice contender also promised to create educational institutes for women, skill development centers, if voted to power. She also blames the sitting MLA for failing to bring the Metro services to the constituency and banking facilities for people in the old city area.

Accusing the party [AIMIM] of believing in divisive politics by creating differences along the lines of caste, creed and religion, Shahzadi said her party believed in the development of all.


Nijjana Ramesh

A research scholar who leads a Joint Action Committee at Osmania University, N Ramesh, was picked by the Telangana Jana Samithi (TJS) to contest against three-time BJP legislator Kishan Reddy — who won the last election by a whopping 60,000 votes — from Amberpet.

Citing how his mentor and TJS founder M Kodandaram allotted two seats to university students despite having only a few seats from the alliance, Ramesh said he would take the opportunity to use his 14 years of experience in student politics and be the voice of the student community and unemployed youth of the state.

“The youth should be empowered as they have the zeal to rise for a good cause. We proved it during the statehood movement,” Ramesh said adding that welfare schemes should reach the downtrodden and they should enjoy the fruits of development. “Students and youth across the state are looking towards Kodandaram and I am sure that they will vote for the People’s alliance,” he said.

Kongala Pandu

K Pandu, a student leader from Osmania University, filed his nomination from the Samajwadi Party and will take on state health minister Dr Laxma Reddy, who is the incumbent candidate on Jadcherla AC. He had won the constituency for a second term in 2014 having won it earlier in 2004.

“Our university students and their leaders, who were instrumental in the statehood movement, are being neglected by all major political parties. So many of us chose smaller parties like Samajwadi Party, Bahujan Samaj Party, Bahujan Left Front or are contesting as an independent. We want to prove that elections can be fought without corrupt practices and I am sure we will win by our sincere efforts,” he said.

“My opponents may be powerful candidates but my local support in Jadcherla will help me in winning the elections,” Pandu declared confidently. “Problems like industrial pollution, erratic supply of drinking water, irrigation woes are being neglected by the present legislator,” Pandu said adding that if voted to power, he would work to resolve these issues.

Anji Yadav

Anji Yadav, a Backward Classes leader in Osmania, selected Kodad Assembly segment for his political debut against sitting MLA N Padmavathi Reddy, wife of Telangana Congress president N Uttam Kumar Reddy.

“The leaders governing the constituency are not as powerful as shown in media. It is just a perception. None of them were seen in the Telangana statehood agitation. I had participated in that cause and was even sent to jail for it,” he said. “The present legislator has not even visited many villages during her five-year term. So, I decided to be the voice of BC community which has been neglected over years and I am sure that people will vote for me,” he said. “Public has also realised that though the Backward Classes constitute over 50 percent of the total population, they are still kept away from political power,” he claimed.

“Youngsters must enter politics. The old leaders of age-old parties are not giving enough chances to the young students. This is the reason why I am contesting this election as an independent,” he said adding that his candidature got a positive response from all sections of people in the constituency.

J Kalyan Nayak ( Unemployed Youth JAC Chairman, OU)

J Kalyan Nayak, presently working as vice-president of BJYM Telangana, chose Devarakonda constituency for his entry into mainstream politics. He is a research scholar in Political Science department at Osmania University.

“Since students across the state are facing unemployment issues, they will play a key role in the upcoming Assembly polls and vote for student leaders like me who can stand for them and solve their issues,” he said.

“Present day politics is flooded with corrupt practices where most of the political leaders are focusing on the growth of their individual assets and are neglecting the public. People of the constituency are waiting for a leader who is well-educated and aware of the problems they face,” he said. “Devarakonda is a tribal-dominated area and I chose this constituency to serve the people who have been neglected since ages.”

Nayak also alleged that the constituents were migrating to other places due to unemployment and fluoride contamination.


Where are Congress student leaders?

Many prominent faces like M Krishank, Daruvu Yellana, Bala Laxmi, Manavatha Roy, and Durgam Bhasker — who played a key role in statehood agitation — were denied Congress tickets. While expressing dissatisfaction, the student leaders maintained that they would still campaign for the party if asked for since they are not like seasoned politicians who change their political parties overnight.

“Some state leaders in Congress do not recognise the value and respect that Osmania University student leaders have in public. People who have previously lost elections twice or thrice are being recommended because they are close to these leaders,” Yellana claimed, adding that the party also cited financial status and the unwillingness of local leaders as reasons behind the denial of tickets to student leaders.

“The present state and district leaders see us as a threat to their positions. They only need puppets who act according to their wishes,” alleged Bhasker. “We are not demanding tickets without putting in any efforts. We have been in the battlefield since the Telangana movement,” he said.

“As said by Dr B R Ambedkar, political power is the master key. We thought a political party would provide us with a common platform where we can raise our voices and chose the Congress as it gave us our state. However, the denial of tickets has sent a negative message in the student community,” he said.

Laxmi, another student leader at Osmania said Congress should have given tickets to at least some leaders to give a message that the grand old party stood with the students. “Though denied the ticket, we are ready to campaign for the party if called upon,” Laxmi added.

“The welfare of the state and providing employment opportunities to the youth are more important than my candidature,” Roy said, adding that the party has given chance to former student leaders of Osmania University such as Addanki Dayakar, Dr Sravan Dasoju and Medipally Satyam."We had fought the Telangana movement not for our individual benefits, but for the welfare of the people which comes foremost, and for that MAHAKUTAMI has to come to power and we all will work for it,” he added.


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