The two faces of KCR: Revolutionary and Represser

How did KCR become almost synonymous with the Telangana statehood movement? And later, how did he quell opposition, particularly from those who had been co-passengers with him in the agitation for statehood?
The two faces of KCR: Revolutionary and Represser
The two faces of KCR: Revolutionary and Represser
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In political and public meetings seeking separate statehood for Telangana, Podusthunna Podhu Meeda, a folk song by renowned folk artist Gaddar was always played, almost becoming an anthem for the movement. The Dhoom Dham movement formed by folk singer Rasmayi Balakrishna is a cultural organisation that gave life to the statehood agitation through its protest songs. Folk songs took messages of the movement to villages and towns and shaped the opinions of millions. They galvanised public sentiment and kept the movement alive. From propagating the cultural identity of Telangana to becoming vehicles of protests, folk singers fueled the agitation for statehood. 

In 2014, right after the formation of Telangana, the state’s first Chief Minister, K Chandrashekhar Rao (KCR), announced that folk singers who performed under the cultural umbrella of Dhoom Dham will receive a monthly salary. He started an organisation called the Samskruthika Sarathi (Charioteers of culture), and through that announced government schemes for over 600 singers who contributed to the cause. The formation of this organisation was not a minor incident, but should be viewed as a chapter that highlights KCR’s political acumen. By co-opting around 638 singers who traditionally sang anti-establishment songs, KCR ensured that the movement does not turn against his government, that there would be no songs against him.

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