Earlier this week, the LDF and the UDF parties in Kerala staged a joint hunger strike in Kerala, a rare sight where the two opposing factions joined hands against the controversial CAA and the impending NRC. However, in Telangana, political parties seem to be divided when it comes to a matter concerning the citizenship rights of 200 million Indian Muslims.
Legacy political parties in the state are dragging their feet and have chosen to fight alone. While an umbrella of parties led by the Left carried out a protest on Thursday, the Congress said it will plan its own course of action. The AIMIM will take out a protest only on December 21 and their friendly party, the TRS in power in the state, says its hands are tied.
When asked if like Kerala the Telangana government would declare that the CAA will not be implemented in the state, Rajya Sabha MP Dr K Keshava Rao of the TRS responded bluntly asking, â€śIs the passport being given by Kerala? Is the citizenship being given by Kerala?â€ť pointing out that citizenship is a central issue and that the state has no say in its implementation.
â€śOnce the law says you are not a citizen a passport will not be given to you, you will not be able to vote, there is nothing to implement. We are opposed to CAA, we have said it is against the very idea of India. Itâ€™s against all our dreams and aspirations about our India. CAA violates several articles of the constitution. Itâ€™s the law now, unless the court strikes it down,â€ť he added.
â€śThe TRS government cannot just vote against the CAA and then wash away their hands. It should assure the public that no oneâ€™s citizenship will be cancelled,â€ť says Professor Kodandaram of the Telangana Jana Samithi (TJS).
â€śMerely voting against the act is insufficient, itâ€™s necessary that the state government give confidence to the people that no register will be made that excludes people, that people will remain citizens and do not need fear any exclusion. Such an assurance is expected from the government on such matters,â€ť says the professor, who will be part of a rally against the Act along with the Communist Party of India (CPI), New Democracy, Jamaat e Islami, BC Welfare Association, Madiga Reservation Porata Samithi (MRPS), and various other smaller parties.
Student unions have also joined together and are organising protests, trying to rope in more students from across state universities.
On Wednesday, as political parties and student unions came out and protested in the streets in Hyderabad, the Congress, the main opposition in Telangana, was just constituting a core committee meeting â€“ to decide what to do.
When the TPCC president N Uttam Kumar was asked why the Congress was dragging its feet in extending support to protests against the CAA, he said, â€śSomeone is holding protest somewhere, why should we go there and extend support? Why do you want me to go there?â€ť When pointed out that the National Studentsâ€™ Union of India (NSUI), the student wing of the Congress, was notably absent at the protests, the state president replied saying he would check and get back.
â€śNSUI staged a protest at Kukatpally at noon today,â€ť he would later inform TNM.
The CPI is of the view that all Left and secular parties in the state must unite against the CAA and NRC.
â€śThe only secular party in the state is the TRS. We appeal to the Telangana Chief Minister K Chandrashekar Rao to join us,â€ť says Chanda Venkat Reddy, Secretary, CPI. â€śKCR should be the one leading from the front like the chief ministers of West Bengal and Kerala,â€ť he adds.
Prof Kodandaram points out that the lacklustre response by the political parties against the CAA and NRC in the state is because legacy political parties stopped mobilising people for protest activity.
â€śElections are won by money, that is one of the reasons why political mobilisation, which is the core activity of any political party, has been sidelined. So all protest activities have been by parties that are in emergence or by non-party organisations. This has been a marked feature of Telangana politics. The aspect of mobilisation of people by political parties has been completely given up, that includes the Congress party also,â€ť says the professor.