Ban on Rahul Gandhi’s visit to Osmania University: What is KCR worried about?

Chief Minister KCR is worried that the pressing issues of lakhs of Telangana youth will come to light if Rahul Gandhi visits the university, writes AICC national spokesperson Dasoju Srravan.
Collage of Telangana Chief Minister KCR and Congress leader Rahul Gandhi
Collage of Telangana Chief Minister KCR and Congress leader Rahul Gandhi
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By Dasoju Srravan

Universities are the pedestals of learning, free speech, inquiry and empowerment. They are the foundations on which progressive and prosperous societies and nations are built. But for KCR, the Chief Minister of Telangana, it appears that the very idea of debate, questioning and student activism is annoying. He has once again proved his aversion to democracy and debate by using all his might to stop senior Congress leader and Member of Parliament Rahul Gandhi from visiting Hyderabad’s Osmania University (OU).

The 104-year-old university is a widely respected institution across the globe and has been the foundation for many progressive initiatives, social movements and scientific developments. In fact, it is because of OU that the state of Telangana was formed. The students of the university played an important role in the Telangana movement, some even sacrificing their lives.

How justified is OU’s Executive Council in denying permission to Rahul Gandhi’s interaction with students, saying it does not allow political activities? If the same policy was adopted by the past Congress governments, would it have been possible for the university to turn into a foundation for the Telangana movement? If universities disallow even political and social meetings and activities, then what sort of graduates will they produce and how will they help in the development of societies and cultures? The Congress party will abide by the High Court’s decision. But why is the KCR government taking things so far that an opposition party has to seek the court’s support for a meeting with students, to know about their problems? Every concerned citizen has to ponder over this.

The KCR government has completely neglected the education sector in Telangana. It has broken the back of universities by weakening them. For many years, universities did not have full time VCs and were ruled by IAS officers. There has been no recruitment of faculty. Not just professor posts, even teacher and lecturer posts are vacant in large numbers across the state. In its eight years in power, instead of strengthening public universities, the government has encouraged private universities. This is nothing but a cleverly crafted plan to keep quality education and opportunities from SC, ST, BC sections and minorities, who are mostly poor and cannot afford to go to private institutes. KCR feels that weakening universities and the public education system will ensure that his rule continues unquestioned.

KCR came to power promising to give at least one job to every family in the state. But there are currently 40 lakh unemployed youth in Telangana. According to the CR Biswal Committee report, there are 1.90 lakh vacancies, but KCR is misleading youth by saying that he will fill 90,000 vacancies, as the Telangana Assembly elections are nearing. The unemployment allowance promise made by KCR is yet to be implemented. In the absence of job notifications, the government is not even providing self-employment and entrepreneurship opportunities. Lakhs of applications filed by youth belonging to marginalised communities for self-employment loans are not being processed. The government is not even focusing on skill development. Then what must the youth of Telangana do?

Forget new jobs, the KCR government has cut down existing jobs, leaving thousands of Telangana youth jobless. According to a study done by the Telangana Congress research team, KCR has ousted 52,515 people from jobs in various departments. 21,200 people from Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan, 1,640 nurses who performed selfless service even during the COVID-19 pandemic, 709 from Mission Bhagiratha, 315 from the Horticulture Department, 16,400 horticulture volunteers, 2,000 junior panchayat secretaries, 2,640 from TSRTC, are just a few of the job cuts done by the KCR government.

KCR is worried that all these pressing issues relating to the lives of lakhs of Telangana youth will come to light if Rahul Gandhi visits OU.

It must be remembered here that our country’s first Prime Minister, Jawaharlal Nehru, set up many reputed institutes and supported universities proactively, because he believed that a vibrant education system is a prerequisite for the nation’s progress and evolution. The Congress has always respected democracy and responded to rightful protests and agitations, believing that they are a way for disadvantaged sections to demand their due share in development. KCR should know that if he stops one Rahul Gandhi from meeting students, there are about 40 lakh Rahul Gandhis in Telangana who will question him.

Dasoju Srravan is a national spokesperson for the Congress party.

Views expressed are the author’s own.

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